COVID-19: Support for NEETs

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Economy – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:00 pm on 29th September 2020.

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Photo of Diane Dodds Diane Dodds DUP 2:00 pm, 29th September 2020

That is indeed an important and, again, topical and timely question on the issue. The European social fund funds a range of programmes, not just for young people who are not in employment or training but as part of the Northern Ireland apprenticeship programme. Therefore, it is very important to us that the Executive collectively engage with the UK Government to ensure that our national Government understand that, in the replacement for that European social fund — the shared prosperity fund — Northern Ireland is not at a disadvantage and gains the same amount of funding from that shared prosperity funding as it does from structural funds as they come to Northern Ireland and, importantlyl, that we are able to set our own priorities and objectives for the funding as a devolved legislature with responsibility devolved in those areas. The lead Department for this is the Department of Finance. It has been working on this, and, of course, I will continue to liaise with it and with Departments in London to make sure that those views are known. Current ESF funding is secure until 31 March 2022.