Question No: 76 Ref No: 25393-15
To the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the extent to which the age profile of those on the live register continues to be monitored with a view to making any adjustments necessary to assist those most in need; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
– Bernard J. Durkan.
* For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 24th June, 2015.
R E P L Y
Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Joan Burton T.D):
The Government’s primary strategy to tackle youth unemployment is through policies to create the environment for a strong economic recovery by promoting competitiveness and productivity. Economic recovery will underpin jobs growth and the availability of productive employment for young people. This strategy has been succeeding, with an increase of over 80,000 in employment over the last two years.
Reduced rates for younger jobseeker’s allowance recipients are a targeted measure aimed at protecting young people from welfare dependency and ensuring that they are well placed to share in the economic recovery.
To guard against the development of welfare dependency I believe that it is necessary to provide young jobseekers with a strong financial incentive to engage in education or training or to take up employment. If they do not improve their skills, it will be much more difficult for them to avail of job opportunities as the economy recovers and they are at risk of becoming long term unemployed from a young age. That is why if a jobseeker in receipt of the reduced jobseeker’s allowance rate participates on an education or training programme they will receive a higher weekly payment of €160.
Any change to provision in this area would be a matter for Government to consider in a Budgetary context.