Government unveils job creation plan
Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the launch of the Government's new action plan for jobs. Photograph: The Irish Times
The Government is to incentivise businesses to hire additional employees from the Live Register by funding 25 per cent of the costs of employing them.
As part of a new action plan for jobs unveiled today, the Government said the State would pay €1 of every €4 it costs an employer to recruit a long-term unemployed person.
The two-year JobsPlus scheme is one of seven "disruptive reform” measures designed to stimulate employment and boost the domestic economy.
The Government’s initiative contains 333 actions to be implemented in 2013 by 16 Government departments and 46 State agencies. The plan will see the IDA target 130 new investments in 2013, aimed at securing €500 million worth of foreign investment to help create 13,000 new jobs.
Enterprise Ireland will oversee a programme of supports for 155 “high potential and early-stage start-ups”.
The agency will also assist 300 companies develop new overseas markets through its new potential exporters division, and will support over 1,000 companies on management development programmes.
Two new Government finance schemes worth over €2 billion specifically designed to increase lending to small and medium-sized businesses are to be up and running by the end of 2013 as part of the plan which will also see the controversial pillar bank lending targets for 2013 increased to €4 billion.
The package of measures also provide for an new integrated licensing application system for retailers for up to 25 licences in the sector as well as steps to increase the number of businesses trading online.
Through Science Foundation Ireland, the Government will provide support to five new research centres of "major scale", involving Government investment of over €150 million.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Government’s top priority was to get Ireland working again. “The action plan for jobs 2013 is central to our job creation ambitions as we seek to increase the number of new jobs by 100,000 by 2016.”
Mr Kenny said the previous administration built an economy based on debt and property that collapsed like a house of cards. “We are rebuilding our economy brick-by-brick, making it stronger, ensuring that successes gained are here for the long term,” he said.
Other elements of the initiative include a plan to provide an additional 2,000 IT graduate level professionals in 2013. A new €70 million energy efficiency fund to support 20 major projects in 2013 and ultimately create 5,000 jobs is also to be established.
The Government also plans to appoint six senior industry figures with track records of developing businesses to oversee the reforms. These individuals will also join a newly reconfigured National Competitiveness Council.
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore the primary goal was to create jobs and tackle unemployment. “Creating jobs for our people and equipping the unemployed to move into employment will remain top priorities for this Government.”
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton said: “The Action Plan for Jobs is aimed at supporting the transition from the old, failed economy reliant on property, banking and debt to a new, sustainable, jobs-rich economy based on enterprise, exports and innovation.”
Employers’ group Ibec broadly welcomed the measures, saying they contained a wide range of initiatives that will help Irish businesses grow and create much-needed employment.
“The reform of employment supports through the JobsPlus Initiative is very welcome and will better meet the needs of employers," said chief executive Danny McCoy. “It is a much simpler and more transparent model and should encourage more companies to hire people off the Live Register.”
ICT Ireland and the Irish Software Association welcomed the announcement of visa reforms making it easier for firms to recruit specialists from abroad, which, they said, would support growth in the flourishing Irish tech sector.
David Fitzsimons of Retail Excellence Ireland said: “While we welcome the measures announced today such as an integrated licensing application system and steps to increase the number of businesses trading online, the Government must develop further practical measures to aid our struggling retail industry.
“Over the past few weeks, we have seen businesses fail and many jobs lost, the sector still remains very fragile and Government need to tackle this before we see further failure in the coming months,"
Avine McNally of the Small Firms Association said the plan recognised the key role that small firms play in the economy by focusing on initiatives to assist start ups and indigenous business to grow. "The proposed Government lending schemes and increasing the lending targets for the pillar banks, will assist firms accessing credit and financing facilities to support expansion and cashflow," she added.