Incentive scheme aims to take 2,500 people off Live Register

The Government is aiming to create 2,500 jobs in a pilot scheme which will see employers being given cash payments of up to €10,000 for each worker they hire from the Live Register.

The plan is aimed at unemployed people “who feel they have no hope” of getting a job or adding to their experience, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said yesterday.

The JobsPlus scheme was launched at the headquarters of the fast-growing contact centre business, Eishtec, in Waterford by the Taoiseach, along with Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, Social Protection Minister Joan Burton, and Jobs Minister Richard Bruton.

Eishtec employs 550 people across Waterford and Wexford, a figure due to rise to 700 by the year end.

Mr Kenny admitted the South-East had taken “a hammering for some time now” in terms of job losses, while Mr Bruton said he had visited the area many times and can now sense “a fight back”.

JobsPlus will be operated by the Department of Social Protection. It will pay €10,000 over two years for each person recruited who has been unemployed for more than two years; and €7,500 over two years for every employee taken on who has been jobless for between one and two years.

It replaces the previous employer job (PRSI) exemption and Revenue job assist schemes. Mr Kenny said he hoped the new plan will be “far more successful” than its predecessors.

“It’s specifically targeted at dealing with the persistency of the problem of the Live Register. People who, day after day after day, come to a point where they feel they have no hope, there’s no encouragement, there’s no motivation, there’s nothing for them.

“This scheme will, like Eishtec, I hope, rise out and say ‘yes there is something for you, let’s talk about your ambition, let’s talk about your experience, let us talk about what you would like to do’.”

Ms Burton said she hoped the scheme would go beyond the 2,500 jobs envisaged. She said many of those on the Live Register were people who had previously worked hard and gained valuable experience.

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