[Sinn Fein]

13 December 2002

SF slam Reduction of Back to Work Schemes

Sinn Fein TD and spokesperson Social and Community Affairs Deputy Seán Crowe has said that the governments decision to curtail the Back to Work incentives for the unemployed will be a devastating blow to those who want to return to full time employment.

The Back to Work Scheme will now only apply to people who have been unemployed for five years instead of 15 months as at present. This according to Deputy Crowe is another cutback aimed at those in society who need assistance most.

Deputy Crowe said:

Fianna Fáil have finally proven that their interest in the unemployed is non-existent. This move is clearly an example of cutbacks aimed at those who need state assistance. The Back to Work initiative has been one of the few schemes that have given a sign of hope to those who find themselves and their families trapped in a cycle of unemployment and poverty. The fact that almost 100,000 families have already benefited from this programme shows the very real impact that it can have in tackling poverty.

The curtailment of the scheme is, I believe, the first step by this government in removing it entirely and is another shameful indictment of Fianna Fáil policy that has no regard for the needs of the most disadvantaged in society.

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