SIPTU Community Sector representatives have called for the government not to target community based job activation schemes, which play a crucial role in promoting social inclusion for vulnerable groups, for further cuts in funding. SIPTU Community Sector Organiser, Eddie Mullins, said: “Community based job activation schemes such as Tús and similar programmes play a crucial role in assisting people, who are experiencing long-term unemployment, back into the workforce. In fulfilling this role such schemes prioritise the social inclusion needs of the individual and ensure that they are placed in an employment role they can adequately fulfill. “That the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, has recently stated that such schemes may be targeted for further cuts, in his upcoming review of government spending is yet another unacceptable attack on the Community Sector. The Sector has already suffered severe cuts in recent years and is in danger of collapsing if it is yet again targeted by those seemingly unaware of the crucial role it fulfils in Irish society.” SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser, John King, said: “With increasing levels of employment it is understandable that the job activation area may be seen as one where the government can make savings.  However, schemes such as Tús have at their core a social inclusion agenda which places a focus on the rights of vulnerable groups when reintegrating them into the workforce.” “In recent years there has been a growing move towards the privatisation of job activation programmes. Private for profit companies have to all intents and purposes cherry picked persons from the unemployment register, who are facing the least challenges to rejoining the workforce, for placement. This runs counter to the ethos of community development which is not about generating profits or merely hitting targets but is focused on the delivery of quality outcomes for participants. “With this in mind, even in a buoyant job market the community and person centered services delivered by schemes such as Tús and similar programmes are still essential. This is why they should be adequately funded rather than targeted for cuts.”