Action Plan for Jobs – First Progress Report

22nd May, 2014

This is the first progress report under the 2014 Action
Plan for Jobs and the ninth progress report since we commenced the Action Plan
for Jobs process at the beginning of 2012.

Jobs are the top priority of the Government.

Helping to create new jobs to get Ireland working is what drives and motivates this Government.

It is why this Government will continue to work hard until we deliver on our job creation targets. That is what the people are most interested in.

Stability creates jobs. Stability attracts investment. Stability grows economies.

In contrast, instability destroys jobs. Instability scares away investment. Instability causes the economy to shrink.

We only have to rewind the clock to the shambolic final weeks of the previous Government to remind ourselves of that.

In addition, Sinn Féin’s high tax strategy is a recipe for major economic instability by reversing hard won
foreign investment and jobs.

This Government has stabilised the national finances and has put Ireland on the road to recovery.

The Action Plan for Jobs outlines our strategy to create 100,000 new jobs in the economy by 2016.

Our commitment to the delivery and implementation remains steadfast.

This quarter, you will see that we have delivered on 97 of the 103 measures that we said we would undertake, giving us a completion rate of 94 per cent.

We are now seeing over 1,000 jobs a week being created in the private sector, the highest rate of employment growth across the OECD. 

As a consequence the live register has fallen for the past 22 months.

Of course, unemployment is still far too high and that is why we remain so focused on the Action Plan for Jobs.

In the last few weeks, we have announced a range of new initiatives and reforms.

We had the launch of the new network of Local Enterprise Offices to provide a one-stop-shop for
entrepreneurs and small business at local level. 

We have provided additional resources for this network of offices. Each Local Enterprise Office is now fully integrated into Local Authority structures so that a full suite of services can be provided to entrepreneurs and microenterprises.

Last week, we announced the steps we will take to help bring construction activity to levels that
match the needs of the economy – not to return to unsustainable boom, but to ensure that we are building the houses, schools, commercial buildings and infrastructure we need for the future.

Today Minister Noonan revealed details of a new Strategic Banking Corporation to help channel credit into expanding Irish small businesses.

Last year we reached agreement with Chancellor Merkel on finding ways to reinforce Ireland’s economic recovery.

We discussed different ways to improve funding mechanisms for the real economy, including access to finance for Irish SMEs.

She agreed to explore ways to make credit available in Ireland from the German investment bank KfW.

After months of discussions and preparatory work the Government agreed on Tuesday to establish the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland.

It will focus on financing SMEs in first instance but can grow to finance other key sectors of the economy.

It will be financed by a mix of funding from KfW, the European Investment Bank and the resources of the NPRF at the start and will seek to add other sources of funding once operational.

This is great news for Ireland’s small business sector that will benefit from better options and loans
that are designed to suit the needs of SMEs.

We anticipate the first phase will make €500 million available but work to expand the scope and size of the banking corporation will continue.

This agreement with our international partners is the type of positive results that can be attained from
a positive engagement with Europe.

Banging tables and making threats might make others feel better about what happened to Ireland in the past but only by seriously working through our problems at home and in Europe can we can help Ireland’s recovery.

The politics of protest doesn’t create the jobs our people need.

Conclusion
This Government will continue to work seriously to support job creation.

We will be back to you again in the quarters to come. And the message will be the same. Jobs remain the Government’s highest priority and the Action Plan for Jobs is how we will get things done.