The Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs Dara Calleary has expressed concern about the increasingly worrying lack of substance in the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Action Plan for Jobs is nothing more than a PR exercise. We’ve had another report today from the Government patting itself on the back for carrying out basic everyday tasks that have always taken place within Departments,” said Deputy Calleary.
“This is like someone coming to work, turning on their computer and praising themselves for achieving an ‘action’. It’s a purely self-congratulatory box-ticking exercise that has little direct impact on the immediate crisis in the jobs market. It’s all about promoting the Government, instead of objectively measuring the tangible support available to the 400,000 people who are looking for work.
“Nearly one third of the ‘achievements’ that the Government claims credit for are commissioning reports and other studies (including evaluations, inventories, analyses, consultations, assessments, surveys, feasibility studies) and monitoring ongoing activity. Dozens more ‘actions’ are just day-to-day tasks that always take place in the normal course of business.
“A box-ticking exercise like this is no substitute for real initiatives that will boost the real economy. The two measures the Government could take to make a real difference are to fix the banks and stop taking money out of pockets of low and middle income families.
“We only need to look at the report from ISME to see that 50% of viable businesses with good opportunities are still being turned down for loans. Lending to SMEs is the bread and butter activity of banks, yet they are still failing to fulfil this basic obligation.
“Government policies are strangling the domestic economy. They are cutting their own investment budget, hitting consumers with regressive tax increases, imposing cuts in Child Benefit, raising the cost of medical insurance and allowing more and more people to fall into mortgage arrears every single day. Increased property tax bills this year will further erode consumer spending. Against this backdrop, retailers and local businesses will struggle to achieve any sort of recovery in 2014.”