herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

New get-tough policy with jobless pushes Rabbitte's 'red line' to limit

THE Government plans to get tough with unemployed people who are not actively looking for a job.

The move was confirmed a year to the day since Labour's Pat Rabbitte said that cutting social welfare rates was a red line for Labour.

Mr Rabbitte said in a discussion on RTE's News at One on February 15 last year that it was "not fair" to propose over three years to cut the social welfare rate again, as Fine Gael was doing.







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Asked by interviewer Sean O'Rourke if this was "a red line for Labour", Mr Rabbitte replied: "It is."

Since then, the Coalition Government was formed and the Department of Social Protection outlined cuts of €475m in the Budget.

These included cuts in child benefit, fuel allowance, the one-parent family payment as well as the Back To School Clothing and Footwear Allowance and Jobseeker's Benefit. Now the Government is to consider actions it may take against unemployed people who do not turn up for interviews with the Department of Social Protection.

The information was revealed by the Department of Finance as part of the Government's commitment in an IMF and EU memo. The IMF and ECB have long been unhappy with the Government's failure to impose sanctions on people on benefits who refuse job offers or fail to turn up for interviews or training.

The bailout organisations want the State to ensure that our relatively generous benefit system does not deter people from taking up work.

And in an unusual move, the Government promised that it would hire outside consultants to advise on what systems should be put in place.

mlavery@herald.ie

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