Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Questions (14)

Brendan Smith

Question:

10 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will list in order from one to five the five main barriers to competitiveness in the economy here; the steps he has taken to reduce these barriers; the steps he intends to take to reduce these barriers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4173/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)

The National Competitiveness Council (NCC) monitors business cost and competitiveness issues facing the Irish economy and offers recommendations on policy actions required to enhance Ireland's position in these areas. The NCC does not rank the top 5 barriers, it uses 127 indicators to benchmark competitiveness across a wide range of issues, including:

Macroeconomic stability

Business Investment

Export Performance

Cost Competitiveness.

While the NCC does not rank the challenges in order of priority, in its "Ireland's Competitiveness Scorecard 2011" report, published in July, the Council listed the 6 priority challenges to be addressed as:

Productivity and Innovation

Access to Credit

Labour Market Activation

Taxation Policy

Education

Infrastructure.

In their most recent publication, "Ireland's Competitiveness Challenge 2011", they have added Reducing the Cost of Doing Business, public sector reform and corporate governance.

Clearly the steps needed to meet these challenges require a whole of Government approach. Through actions already taken in the Jobs Initiative and the recent Budget, we have taken steps to address many of the issues. The NCC has acknowledged that a series of measures have already been taken to remove structural barriers to growth, on reducing costs, up-skilling and re-skilling, investing in infrastructure, reducing the budget deficit, improving access to finance for enterprise and public sector reform.

Minister Bruton is currently working with Government colleagues to finalise the "Action Plan for Jobs", which will include a number of actions across these priority areas designed to bring about further improvements in Ireland's competitiveness. Final proposals are still under consideration by Government.