WEST CORK BACKBENCHER CREATES NEW GOVERNMENT SCHEME FOR LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYED

The Government is to introduce a new scheme for the long-term unemployed proposed by a West Cork TD.

Social Protection Minister Joan Burton has confirmed the Jobs Plus initiative, modelled on Deputy Jim Daly’s proposals.

“In line with what Deputy Jim Daly has set out in his proposals for A Ticket to Work,” Minister Burton told the Dail, “Jobs Plus is to provide simple, easily accessible and understood cash based incentive to get employers to recruit full-time permanent employees from the live register. As it is cash based, it will aid a business’s cash flow by providing a steady flow of payments each month for two years. If a business recruits a person who has been unemployed for 24 months from the live register, the employer will receive a cash grant of €10,000 over two years.”

Jim Daly’s involvement with a local committee of experienced employers in West Cork greatly enhanced his efforts to have his proposals given serious consideration by the Government and Department officials.

The Fine Gael TD is a member of the West Cork Jobs Initiative comprising 12 local employers, involved in a number of initiatives to drive job creation in West Cork.

“I initially presented this idea to the committee of the West Cork Jobs Initiative before presenting the paper to Government,” says Jim Daly. “The fact that the paper had been approved by a representative group of employers from the various sectors across West Cork gave me huge credibility when trying to convince the various Department officials of its merit. I am most grateful for the time afforded to me by The Taoiseach, Ministers Noonan, Bruton and Burton and their respective officials over the past 18 months as I pushed for this initiative to provide employment for the long term unemployed. It will be the first major step towards tackling long term unemployment in this country.”

Previous incentives such as the Revenue Assist Scheme aimed to reward employers who employed persons from the live register had ceased to be effective. No more than 350 persons were availing of the scheme in any year.

“At that rate, it would take more than 500 years to address the current level of long term unemployed,” says Jim Daly. “This was the catalyst for me to pursue the case for a new scheme that would empower unemployed persons to seek employment and assist employers at the same time with payroll costs.”

The Minister for Social Protection has acknowledged the criticisms made by Jim Daly regarding the non effectiveness of previous schemes such as the Revenue Assist scheme and admits a fresh view was needed.

“I compliment the Deputy (Jim Daly) on his own work in bringing forward new proposals.” stated Minister Joan Burton.

The new scheme, Jobs Plus will be launched next month in Waterford by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny. The scheme will provide cash grants directly to businesses who recruit from the live register incentivising employers to provide employment to the long term unemployed. Minister Joan Burton outlined to the Dáil how the scheme will work.

“If a business recruits a person who has been unemployed for 24 months from the live register, the employer will receive a cash grant of €10,000 over two years. If a business recruits a person who has been unemployed for between 12 and 24 months, the employer will receive a cash grant of €7,500 over two years. The initial budget allocation for this scheme is €21.25 million over three years,” she said.