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For Oral Answer on : 20/02/2024
Question Number(s): 86 Question Reference(s): 7806/24
Department: Social Protection
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
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QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Social Protection to outline her plans to expand and develop the TÚS initiative; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY


The Tús scheme provides work placements for a twelve-month period for those who are fully unemployed and on the live register for a year or more. This initiative helps break the cycle of long-term unemployment by providing a work routine and valuable work experience.

My Department is very conscious of the important role that the Tús scheme plays and is committed to supporting the programme.  In addition to providing valuable occupational experience and training as a stepping-stone to employment for people who are unemployed, schemes such as Tús provide important and, in many cases, essential services to their local communities.

Given the continued strong labour market performance, the number of unemployed people dependent on social welfare payments has continued to fall, resulting in a reduction in the number of candidates available for referral to Tús.

A number of reforms and enhancements to Tús have been implemented, including:

  • The eligibility criteria for Tús being extended to include persons 18 years and over who are in receipt of Disability Allowance.  
  • Since August 2022, it was also decided that a percentage of Tús exits could be further extended in certain circumstances for a maximum of six months.  This measure was introduced to maintain the delivery of essential community services, whilst supporting the recruitment of new participants.  This measure is in place until the end of June 2024 and under continuous review by the Department; thus, providing Tús Implementing Bodies with additional flexibility to retain participants, when required, to maintain services in communities where no replacement is immediately available.
     
  • The extension of the criteria of those who can participate on Tús to temporary protection Ukrainian nationals living here.


The eligibility criteria for Tús continues to be kept under active review by this Department; thus, ensuring the best outcomes for participants while supporting the vital community services delivered by schemes in light of changes to the labour market.

I wish to re-iterate that the Department is fully committed to the future of employment support programmes such as Tús and will continue to support and improve the scheme, given the valuable contribution being made to local communities through the provision of services and for the benefit of eligible participants.

I trust that this clarifies the position for you.