DEL responds over failure to secure EU funding for FG Wilson workers

DEL Minister Stephen Farry

DEL Minister Stephen Farry

By Barry McCaffrey

Following the publication of the Detail’s story revealing how two government departments have failed to apply for EGF funding for FG Wilson workers, a DEL spokeswoman responded to our press inquiry.

We had asked for a second time for the department to explain whether or not DEL had asked the Department of Works & Pensions to submit an application to the EU Globalisation Fund for support for FG Wilson employees and if so how does DEL account for Employment Minister Chris Grayling’s public statement that the UK government has a principled opposition to the EGF and as such will not use the fund.

The DEL response came 13 days after our press inquiry was submitted.

It says: "DEL is continuing to explore with DWP (Department for Works and Pensions) the potential for making an application to the Fund and DWP has responsibility for considering and making any applications in respect of the fund on our behalf.

“In relation to FG Wilson, the department’s Redundancy Advice Service and the Employment Service is working in partnership with the Social Security Agency, Further Education Colleges, HMRC and other agencies to provide advice on alternative job opportunities and mentoring, access to training courses, entrepreneurship, education opportunities and careers advice, as well as a range of other issues such as benefits and taxation.

“As we have previously indicated, this service is delivered free of charge to employers and employees facing redundancy and mirrors the services available through the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund.

“By taking direct action ourselves we are ensuring that employees have the best chance of re-employment as soon as possible.

“Given the ongoing challenges in the local labour market, the Executive is actively considering a wide range of proposals to support the economy.

“As part of this initiative, Northern Ireland has engaged directly with the EU Commission, through the Barroso Task Force, to identify what further assistance might be available from Europe to support the local economy at this challenging time."