Cabinet agrees job creation measures

Fri, Jan 18, 2013, 00:00

The Government has signed off on a range of measures designed to boost job creation that will be included in the 2013 Action Plan for Jobs to be published next month.

A special Cabinet meeting on jobs yesterday discussed proposals from each Minister on the jobs issue, but the meeting was dismissed as a stunt by the Opposition.

A Government spokesman said that the measures agreed by the Cabinet yesterday would be included in the 2013 action plan.

The spokesman added that the Government was determined to create the conditions in which employment could grow and the measures agreed yesterday would contribute to that process.

Long-term jobless

The Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton is understood to have focused on the issue of long-term unemployment at the meeting.

In her memo, she detailed how spending on activation programmes and employment supports will increase to €1.45 billion this year compared to €957 million in 2012. An additional 10,000 activation places will be introduced during the year in a variety of schemes, with priority being given to the long-term unemployed.

The Minister also proposed to double the number of staff engaged in the case management of unemployed people this year.

She also told her Cabinet colleagues that work was proceeding on the development of new incentives for employers to promote the hiring of long-term unemployed people. The department has already established an Employer Relations Division to step up its level of engagement with employers.

JobBridge scheme

The Minister gave details of the JobBridge scheme as an example of how activation could work with 13,000 unemployed people being placed to date, with half of them moving on to paid employment.

Ms Burton also reiterated the importance of the social protection spend at a time when demand remains depressed. The overall social protection budget at around €20 billion represents 15 per cent of gross national product.

The Fianna Fáil spokesman on Jobs Dara Calleary dismissed the meeting as a public relations stunt rather than the radical charge of direction by the Government that was required to tackle the unemployment crisis.

“The 423,733 people on the Live Register are sick of well-dressed announcements,” he said.