Taoiseach and Tánaiste: Jobs Cabinet Charts Course for Full Employment in 2018


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Taoiseach and Tánaiste:

Jobs Cabinet Charts Course for Full Employment in 2018

The Cabinet held a special meeting on jobs today and agreed to a range of measures to ensure the delivery of three key employment targets ahead of schedule:

·        Ensuring 40,000 additional jobs in 2015, which, when combined with the 80,000 new jobs already created since the launch of the Action Plan for Jobs, will ensure the Government’s original target of 100,000 new jobs by 2016 is beaten

·        Ensuring unemployment falls below 10% this year, ahead of forecasts when the Government took office

·        Delivering full employment [2.1 million jobs] in 2018, two years earlier than anticipated

To facilitate the delivery of these targets, the Cabinet agreed to update medium-term economic and job creation strategies in a range of areas in 2015.

These updated plans will accelerate the progress made to date on the employment front and ensure that all the jobs lost during the crisis are replaced, leading to full employment in 2018.

The Cabinet also agreed that special emphasis would need to be placed on working pay and conditions for low-paid workers in order to ensure that they benefit from the economic recovery.

Among the items on today's agenda was the Action Plan for Jobs 2015, Pathways to Work, actions to support more job creation outside of the main urban centres, planning reforms to support more house-building, measures to improve credit availability for small businesses, new strategies to support tourism, new reforms to make work pay such as the establishment of the Low Pay Commission to make recommendations on the appropriate level of the Minimum Wage.

The Taoiseach said: “Jobs are what matter to people and their families and we will work to make 2015 the year in which we secure the recovery by focusing on getting Ireland working. The number one goal I am setting for this Government in 2015 is to build on the progress already made to help create 40,000 new jobs this year. The success of our strategy to date has meant we can bring forward our goal of replacing all the jobs lost in the recent crisis to 2018. To achieve this, the Cabinet will be unveiling a series of updated policies in the coming months to ensure that economic recovery is maintained for the years ahead."

The Tánaiste said: “The progress the Government is making on the economic and employment front is clear to see from the thousands of people returning to work each month. But ensuring economic growth and new jobs is not enough. We also have to ensure that workers get sufficient hours and a fair wage, which is why we are establishing the Low Pay Commission to examine the Minimum Wage and why we will also investigate the prevalence of zero-hour contracts and take action where required.”

80,000 new jobs have been added to the economy since the Government launched its Action Plan for Jobs which, together with the Pathways to Work strategy which helps those on the Live Register to return to work, has reduced the unemployment rate to 10.6%, down from the crisis peak of 15.1%. The Action Plan for Jobs 2015, which was discussed at today's Cabinet meeting, will introduce a range of reforms across Government to help hit job creation targets. Under Pathways to Work, meanwhile, the new JobPath employment programme will assist an estimated 115,000 long-term unemployed jobseekers return to work over its duration, while the Back to Work Family Dividend will provide significant financial assistance to parents returning to employment to ensure that work pays.

The Taoiseach and the Tanáiste believe that, with the right policy framework, it is realistic for the Government to bring forward the target year for the delivery of full employment (2.1 million people in employment) from 2020 in the Medium Term Economic Strategy to 2018.

With this aim in mind, the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste asked the Government to agree to set out updated medium-term economic and job creation strategies in a range of areas in 2015, including:

-        An updated overall macro-economic strategy to grow the economy, deliver full employment and balance the public finances, to be published in the Spring;

-        A medium-term capital plan designed to address emerging economic and social infrastructure bottlenecks that could constrain the recovery;

-        A strategy for financing enhanced economic growth and for ensuring that credit demand from growing businesses can be supplied;

-        A national enterprise strategy, with a particular focus on ensuring balanced regional development and job creation in areas that have yet to benefit sufficiently from the recovery;

-        A national skills strategy aimed at addressing emerging skills shortages as economic recovery accelerates;

-        A national aviation strategy aimed at further improvements to Ireland's international connectivity for tourism, trade and investment;

-        A strategy to position the International Financial Services Sector for further growth and job creation;

-        An updated labour market activation and welfare reform strategy to ensure that the economic recovery doesn't bypass jobless households.

-        A medium term strategy for early years and school-age care to increase to support increased parental participation in the labour force; and

-        A medium term agri-business strategy to build upon the successes being achieved under Harvest 2020.

ENDS

 

Last modified:14/01/2015