Enterprise won rise in capital budget


COMPELLING ARGUMENTS associated with job creation and economic growth helped the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to avoid any reduction in its capital budget. In fact, it became one of the few departments to win an increase in its capital allocation.

Details of how this tussle with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform was won are seen in the department’s submission, detailing the returns achieved on enterprise investment.

The 2012 capital budget for the department headed by Richard Bruton increased by 4 per cent, from €508 million to €514 million. This reflected the “priority accorded to job creation”, the Minister said when details were announced last month.

The department’s submission on why its allocation must not be reduced focused on the job creation and enterprise development aspects of its activities.

Government intervention was needed to restore competitiveness, to protect a decade’s investment in research and to help increase foreign direct investment, it said. Enterprise and research acted in tandem to help achieve these goals “to boost productivity, grow exports, sustain jobs and increase wealth across the whole economy”.

For this reason the department could put forward value for money arguments about each element of the enterprise system, from investment in research and development through enterprise development activities supported by Enterprise Ireland and by IDA Ireland.

These enterprise agencies supported some 527,000 direct and indirect jobs, about 30 per cent of the entire workforce, the submission said. Even using the Department of Finance’s own figures “the return on investment from the broad enterprise support is a multiple of that from other capital investment”, it argued.