The Irish government plans to cut welfare benefits for any long term unemployed unwilling to re-educate themselves or train for new jobs according to Social Protection Minister Joan Burton.
The Labor Party deputy leader has warned that the gravy train is over as she prepares to become the first Minister to impose dole cuts on those who refuse to take up offers of work.
The Irish Mail on Sunday reports that Burton is taking the steps in an effort to get Ireland back to work and cut down on cash-in-hand workers who are also claiming dole payments.
The paper also claims that Minister Burton plans to utilise new technology to track the mobile phones of claimants and identify potential fraudsters.
Burton has unveiled the stringent new rules under which dole claimants will be told to take up offers of education or training - or have their benefits slashed.
“If they’re really not engaging in the process, they would lose some of their benefits,” said Burton.
“In such cases inspectors from my department would assume that people are working on the black market. You have to wonder then what are they doing with their time if they turn down every reasonable offer.
“We would not like to see people left destitute but we have made commitments to the IMF that we will cut our unemployment figures to 440,000.”
As part of the new proposals, Burton’s department will make the long term unemployed report to a one-stop social welfare office for rigorous testing.
She added: “One of the things I am working on is how to get people back from, say, being on the dole and into education, into training and into work.
“In the future we will also be taking details of education and work experience from applicants for jobseekers allowance.
“One of the things I would want to do as Minister is to ensure that new applicants are not choosing a long term life on social welfare.”