Govt hits target three months early for helping 20,000 long-term unemployed people in to work in 2016 – Varadkar

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Number of long-term unemployed getting jobs this year now stands at 23,100 – and rising

The Government has achieved its target of getting 20,000 long-term unemployed people into work more than three months earlier than projected, Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar announced today.

“The Government set a target for 20,000 long-term unemployed to take up work this year. I’m delighted to confirm that we have already reached this target. In fact, the number of long-term unemployed moving into work had now reached 23,100 by October,” Minister Varadkar said.

“This means we are well on track to achieve my goal to move 100,000 people from welfare to work over the next five years and to bring unemployment down to between 5% and 6%, and long-term unemployment to 2.5% by 2020.

“Growing employment and providing access to the labour market is the single most effective way to tackle poverty and social exclusion. As unemployment is strongly linked to poverty, achieving these targets will impact positively on people’s living standards and quality of life.”

Government is focused on a package of activation measures for unemployed people, which is being extended to other welfare recipients of working-age. They include:

* More one-on-one engagement with jobseekers through Intreo Centres, JobPath, and local employment services;
* Making work pay, by further increasing the minimum wage, reducing USC, and making sure that more and more people are better off in work than on welfare;
* Engaging with employers to encourage them to offer jobs to people on the live register through subsidies like JobsPlus, and to make the workplace more accommodating to groups such as people with disabilities;
* Reforming welfare-to-work schemes such as CE, Tus, and Gateway. JobBridge has been closed to new applicants and will be replaced by a new scheme which is more focused on providing relevant work experience, largely in the private sector;
* Removing barriers to work such as reducing the cost of childcare, providing greater access to education, and making transport available to people in rural areas who don’t have their own cars;
* Supporting and encouraging more people into self-employment, most recently by allowing access to the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance after a shorter period of nine months on long-term benefits;
* Further social insurance reforms to strengthen the contributory principle, so that people who pay into social insurance get something in return. This will build on recently-introduced reforms such as Paternity Benefit.