§ Mr. Ancram
Responsibility for the subject in question has been delegated to the Training and Employment Agency under its chief executive, Mr. Ian Walters. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from Ian Walters to Mr. Roy Beggs, dated 23 February 1996:The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has asked me as Chief Executive of the Training and Employment Agency to reply to your questions about the Action for Community Employment Programme (ACE).The Training and Employment Agency does not pay ACE workers a basic wage. Sponsoring organisations receive a grant of £93 per week for each ACE worker employed. Up to £11 of this grant can be used by the sponsor to defray overhead expenses. The balance must be used as a contribution towards paying the local rate for the job being undertaken by the ACE employee. Any shortfall between the grant and the local rate must be met by the sponsor.I feel sure you will understand therefore that it is not possible to provide details of the basic wage paid to ACE workers since the scheme became operational.You asked also about the long term future of the ACE programme. During 1996 the Agency will undertake an in depth review of the needs of the long term unemployed which will inform the Agency about the programmes and services we currently offer. ACE will, of course, be included in the review and its future and shape will depend upon the outcome.I hope you find this reply helpful.