Ministers to give Kenny memos on job creation plans
All Ministers have been required to supply a memo to the Taoiseach in advance of today’s special Cabinet meeting on jobs, detailing how they propose to tackle the crisis.
The proposals for job creation and job activation measures supplied by 14 departments will form the basis for today’s discussions. Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said repeatedly since the Coalition took office almost two years ago that job creation is his top priority.
“The Taoiseach’s resolve on this should not be underestimated,” a Government source said. “Back in the autumn, he asked every Minister to come up with ideas for savings and that has led to the talks on a new Croke Park deal. He is equally determined to get results on the jobs front.”
The Cabinet meeting is designed to ensure that individual Ministers are committed to actions in their own departments that will ultimately result in reducing unemployment.
“The Government can’t create jobs itself but it can create the conditions in which employment can expand and every department has a role to play in that,” the Government source added.
A detailed Action Plan for Jobs was published last year by Minister for Jobs and Enterprise Richard Bruton, but the aim now is to get every other member of the Government involved in taking the decisions necessary to boost job creation.
While there will be some discussion about the role of inward investment in maintaining the strong export sector in order to boost employment, there will be a focus on how the domestic economy can be stimulated.
Measures to enhance competitiveness and facilitate access to credit are regarded as critical and Ministers will discuss how their departments can facilitate that process.
The operation of three funds worth €850 million, which were announced by the National Pension Reserve Fund last week, will form part of the discussions.
Those funds are designed to provide small and medium enterprises with access to equity, credit and investment.
The role of Nama and the banking system in helping to promote investment in enterprise will also be discussed today.
The State’s capital investment programme will also feature in the discussions, as will the involvement of local government in investing in necessary infrastructure.
As well as job creation, the role of the welfare system in promoting job-activation measures will form another important strand in the discussions.
The Department of Social Protection has produced a comprehensive report, Pathways to Work, designed to get people off welfare and into employment, but there is some frustration at the slow pace of change in the welfare system.
Ministers will look at ways of accelerating change to enable people move more freely between the welfare system and the jobs market.
During the discussions they will also focus on the importance of retraining to ensure the workforce can adapt to the rapid changes in the labour market.