Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (19)

Micheál Martin


13 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach the efforts that are being made across Government to tackle unemployment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34342/12]

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Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

Since taking office the Government has made tackling unemployment its number one priority. The latest data shows that there are currently 309,000 unemployed and addressing this challenge is central to all of our policy decisions.

For example, the Jobs' Initiative in May 2011, the establishment of NewERA and the Strategic Investment Fund, and the publication of the Government's Action Plan for Jobs 2012 and Pathways to Work have given effect to the vast majority of the Government’s commitments in relation to job creation and reducing unemployment.

Today's announcement of a €2 billion Stimulus Package aimed at creating the maximum number of jobs is further evidence of the Government's commitment in this regard.

Tackling unemployment requires action across many policy areas. The restructuring of the banking system provides the basis for a core banking service that can deliver on the needs of start-up or growing businesses. The establishment of NewERA and the Strategic Investment Fund will develop innovative ways to leverage State assets to ensure long term investment in key infrastructure.

The Action Plan for Jobs 2012 places tackling unemployment at the centre of Government policy. The Plan ensures that every single Government Department and Agency is aligned around an enterprise growth and jobs objective.

The Plan will improve the operating environment and the State supports for job-creating businesses and remove barriers to employment-creation across the economy.

The 2012 Plan is the first instalment in an ambitious multi-year process which aims to:

Create the environment where the number of people at work will increase by 100,000 net — from 1.8 million to 1.9 million — by 2016, and reach 2 million people by 2020;

See Ireland become the best small country in which to do business;

Get back to a top-5 ranking in international competitiveness;

Build world-class clusters in key sectors of opportunity; and

Build up the export market share of Irish companies.

A primary aspect of this Plan is the focus on actions and implementation. The First Progress Report published in April, confirmed that Government is delivering on its commitments under the Action Plan, and this will in turn deliver real improvements in the environment for job creation. In the first three months of this year, Government Departments and Agencies were to deliver 83 measures relating to 68 of the Plan's 270 actions and the Progress Report showed that 96% were delivered, in full, on time. The Second Progress Report will be published shortly and continued progress on delivery is expected.