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Home > Citywide letter to Minister Shothall - reverse the cuts!

[Citywide] Citywide letter to Minister Shothall - reverse the cuts! (08 Feb 2012)

URL: http://www.citywide.ie/news/2011/12/08/citywide-le...

Dear Minister,

I am writing to you on behalf of Citywide to express our dismay at the proposed budget cuts and other changes to Community Employment announced in Budget 2012.

As you are aware the special ring fenced FAS Community Employment projects underpin the National Rehab Strategy and have been a mainstay in delivering rehabilitation in local communities since 1995. They allow drug users, who are engaged in a rehabilitation process, the opportunity to access supported training, education, relapse supports, care planning, progression and employment. They account for almost the entire day-programme element of drug rehabilitation provision in the State.

The measures proposed in this budget will have a devastating impact on these projects and on the implementation of the national drugs strategy. They will spell the death knell of many local drug projects and vital community drug rehabilitation services. We cannot put it any clearer than this. Projects will close as a result of these measures.

The proposed measure to reduce by 66% the combined operational and training budgets of Community Employment, has left the community sector shocked and utterly dismayed. This is the money that provides heat, light, rent, telephone, stationery, education materials, etc etc in order for projects to run their day to day services. Crucially, it also pays for progression training for people engaged in rehabilitation. There is simply no way that special Drug Rehab CE projects can survive these cuts.

The 'employment activation measures' aimed at Lone Parents and people with disabilities will have a massive impact on drug rehab projects - many of whose participants are lone parents and those with a drug addiction related disability. The current income disregard allows lone parents the possibility to pay for childcare while on Community Employment. It also allows those with a drug related disability (such as hepatitis, HIV, amputation etc) to maintain a healthy diet, maintain required home heating levels, pay related medical, clothing and transport costs, etc. Removing the income disregard from these groups will result in increased child poverty levels, reduced access to and take up of drug rehab services and ultimately serve to disconnect those groups further from the labour market and the wider society. The current ability to retain a portion of their DSP payment acts as an incentive to engage in rehabilitation and is a proven method in motivating people to take action to address their drug addiction.

 

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