Kenny moves back full employment deadline to 2020

Original 2018 target to cut jobless rate to 6 per cent ‘unrealistic’, says Taoiseach

Dole queues: “We expect the Government will sign off on a new Pathways to Work strategy in mid-January,” said Enda Kenny. “We’ll take another 50,000-70,000 people out by 2020 and into the world of work.”

Dole queues: “We expect the Government will sign off on a new Pathways to Work strategy in mid-January,” said Enda Kenny. “We’ll take another 50,000-70,000 people out by 2020 and into the world of work.”

 

The Government is to hold a jobs summit in early January with the aim of reaching full employment in the Irish economy by the end of the decade.

However, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has admitted that the date for reaching that target has slipped by two years from previous Government promises.

Last January the Government announced that it would attain a 6 per cent unemployment rate – technically full employment – by 2018 .

But in an interview with journalists over the Christmas period, he revised that timetable and said the Government’s aim was to achieve it by 2020.

Asked why the timetable had slipped back by two years, he replied: “I think it’s more realistic. Obviously 6 per cent is full employment by 2020.

“It’s important that we set out that stall, the difficulties and the challenges that we faced this year were a continuation of the difficulties we faced for the last number of years. But now it’s moving on very strongly.”

Mr Kenny contended it was more difficult to move the jobless rate from 10 per cent to 6 per cent than it was to move it from its high of 15 per cent to 10 per cent.

Jobs summit

He suggested that getting jobs for a core group of people who have been unemployed for a long time was a “real challenge”. Outlining the details of the jobs summit, Mr Kenny said it was scheduled for January 12th and would involve job creators in society.

“I want to call in the business partners who have been working with us on industry here for some time. But also the chief executive and leaders of job creators. It will be streamed live on the internet in respect of their views and their suggestions on how government might further act in order to strengthen our economy for the future.”

He said its purpose would be to improve the environment for jobs, and explore ways of reducing “red tape” and bureaucracy.

He said the Government’s aim was to create an additional 50,000 jobs in 2016.

He also said that 2017 would be the deadline when all Government transactions with businesses would have to be made available online.

“We are behind the curve on this issue and we need to motivate it and expedite it and drive it forward.

Administrative burden

“It’s a significant step in the reduction of the administrative burden that has to be carried, in particular by small Irish business.”

The long-term economic plan, he said, would target employment levels of 2.18 million by 2020 which will be up from 1.9 million in the third quarter.

Praising the work of Tánaiste Joan Burton in the Department of Social Protection, he said: “We expect the Government will sign off on a new Pathways to Work strategy in mid-January. We’ll take another 50,000-70,000 people out by 2020 and into the world of work.”

He said some of the companies which had come in and invested in the Irish economy had taken on people “who thought they might not have an opportunity again to be employed gainfully.

“What we commit to is taking 50,000-70,000 of long-term unemployed people back into paid employment by2020, and getting the unemployment rate down to almost 6 per cent by 2020.”