Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Questions (46, 47, 48, 49, 50)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

42 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the specific initiatives that he has implemented and planned to create jobs amongst the sectors most hit by the recession, in respect of former self-employed citizens, low skilled citizens and citizens under the age of 25 years. [4141/12]

View answer

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

As the Deputy will be aware, the role of Government is not to create jobs directly, but to create the appropriate business environment by making the right policy decisions to help enterprise to grow, to create new jobs and maintain existing jobs.

Since I came into office, I have been working with my Government colleagues to achieve these objectives. We launched a Jobs Initiative last May, within two months of the Government coming into office, to stimulate domestic demand and restore confidence in the economy internationally. The Jobs Initiative included an extra 20,900 places in training, education and upskilling for those who have lost their jobs, with a particular emphasis on those sectors which have experienced structural unemployment.

It is unlikely that employment levels in certain sectors such as construction will return to pre-recession levels. We must, in any event, ensure that Ireland is not overly reliant on a limited number of sectors for future growth. Therefore, it is important that we build a strong enterprise mix and encourage employment growth across a range of sectors.

Key areas which I have been working on to support job creation by enterprise across all sectors include improving access to finance for businesses, reforming the statutory wage setting mechanisms, reducing other costs and administrative burdens for enterprise, improving our export performance and supporting innovation. I have also been coordinating the preparation of the first annual Action Plan for Jobs on behalf of the Government, which will outline the measures to be taken across a range of sectors to support job creation in 2012.

The Government will also shortly publish a policy statement on labour market activation, "Pathways to Work", which will set out further strategies to support those who are unemployed to re-enter the workforce.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

43 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if, having regard to the economic performance over the past 12 months, he has identified particular areas of the economy as having the ability to expand and respond more rapidly in the current economic climate with particular reference to job creation and the sectors with the objective of maximising employment at all levels; if any particular obstacles have been identified as impeding progress towards this objective; if he has had consultations with the stakeholders with a view to even greater efforts towards economic recovery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4077/12]

View answer

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

102 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will indicate, based on the economic performance over the past 12 months, the degree to which he has identified specific areas showing the greatest potential for job creation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4407/12]

View answer

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

103 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the extent to which his Department has identified through engagement with traditional or indigenous enterprise, possible job creating prospects for the future with particular reference to enterprises likely to have the greatest potential in terms of short or medium-term job creation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4408/12]

View answer

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

104 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the extent to which, through his contacts with various stakeholders, he has identified the factors most likely to seriously affect job retention or creation over the next four years; the measures he has put in place or intends to put in place to address such issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4409/12]

View answer

I propose to take Questions Nos. 43 and 102 to 104, inclusive, together.

I am currently finalising an Action Plan for Jobs for Government approval which will set out a series of clear actionable measures across Government to support the creation and retention of jobs in a range of sectors.

In preparing the Action Plan, I have consulted with my Ministerial colleagues and with a wide range of stakeholders from the public, private and community sectors, to obtain their views on actions to support employment creation. I received over 600 individual ideas through this process. Some of these ideas can be actioned in the short-term and will feature in the Action Plan for Jobs for 2012. Other proposals can be delivered in a longer timeframe, or require further consideration. These will be examined further over the coming months.

To support economic recovery, it is important that we build a strong enterprise mix to ensure that Ireland is not overly reliant on a limited number of sectors for future growth. We must also seek to capture the opportunities afforded by the growth of emerging sectors, with a view to maximising the employment potential they offer.

Sectors which have been identified as holding particular potential for Ireland include Agri-food, Health and Lifesciences, Digital Games, Cloud Computing, the Green Economy, International Education and International Financial Services. The Government is also committed to supporting more mature sectors such as Tourism and Manufacturing to avail of new opportunities and improve their product offering.

As well as setting out measures to support the growth of these sectors, the Action Plan for Jobs will seek to address key factors which can act as obstacles to job creation and retention. These include issues such as costs of doing business, access to finance, administrative burdens on business, the need to improve company capability and access to new markets.

The Action Plan will be published in the coming weeks, following its approval by Government.