Government claims progress on jobs action plan

Fri, Jul 20, 2012, 01:00

THE GOVERNMENT has said its major jobs action plan has delivered well over 90 per cent of almost 150 measures it promised to complete by the end of June.

The plan, announced in January, undertook that 100,000 jobs would be created by 2016, bringing the workforce from 1.8 million to 1.9 million.

The plan sets out hundreds of measures that the Government has argued will make it easier for employers – foreign and indigenous – to recruit new employees.

At a press conference in the Guinness Enterprise Centre yesterday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton said the plan was working well and would produce results. Asked about specific jobs created so far, they pointed to positive statistics produced by the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and the Central Statistics Office in recent weeks but said it was much too early in the lifetime of the plan to produce figures on net job creation.

Some 270 measures have been promised for 2012, with 72 of 77 actions promised in the second quarter of the year delivered.

A number of major initiatives were launched in the second quarter, including a €2 million pilot programme to foster collaboration between businesses; the passage of the Credit Guarantee Bill through all stages in the Oireachtas; and the development of a new cloud computing procurement standard.

Some of the five targets not reached were major ones. One was a promised new national waste policy. Others were a plan for advanced broadband targets; a plan to establish a microfinance fund facility; and a major overhaul of the valuation basis for commercial rates.

“You can also express dissatisfaction that targets for quarter two have not been met in full,” said the Taoiseach. He said there were legitimate reasons, allied to complex solutions, for the delays.

He also said three of the five actions not completed would come before Cabinet next week.

“The action plan shows serious progress. The effect of that and the knowledge of that, that’s really important,” said Mr Kenny.

“The scale of this is daunting. We are in the early years of a multiple year process . . . We are not in any way complacent about this. This is another piece of the jigsaw.”

Mr Gilmore said people had suffered a lot from the failures of the Government’s immediate predecessors.

“We know the job of Government is to create circumstances. [The plan’s purpose] was to identify the various things the Government will do. We decided to do this on a quarterly basis.

“Mr Bruton said that a single day recently encapsulated the change in context. He said that on that day 100 jobs in National Irish Bank were being lost while on the same day the social networking company Salesforce.comannounced it was creating 100 jobs.

“We are leaving an old economy to create the new economy.”