Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs Willie O’Dea has said today’s figures from the Central Statistics Office show the employment crisis in the country is deepening and more people are falling into long-term unemployment.  The Quarterly National Household Survey shows unemployment increased by 15,700 in the year to the end of September and the unemployment rate now stands at 14.8%.

Deputy O’Dea said: “Today figures put pay to the notice that the Government’s job initiative has had any success.  The unemployment crisis is deepening and more action is needed to stimulate growth and job creation.  The most disturbing fact about the CSO figures today is that the long-term unemployment rate has increased to 8.4% and now accounts for over half those unemployed.

“With more than half the people out of work now long-term unemployed there is a need for urgent action from the Government.  Sadly I cannot see the situation improving as a result of budget.  The VAT increase and a greater cut than was needed in the capital programme will hurt jobs next year and further damage consumer confidence.

“In our Budget 2012 proposals Fianna Fáil also proposed that businesses struggling to pay rates would be able to appeal on ‘ability to pay’ grounds giving them much needed breathing space; employers who take on workers under 24 would not have to pay PRSI; and that the budgets for the County Enterprise Boards would be doubled.

“Crucially Fianna Fáil proposed phasing out the €2bn levy on private pension funds and replacing it with a mandatory investment by private pension funds in a Strategic Investment Fund. This would be matched by an annual investment from the NPRF and amount to a €5.6bn investment stimulus.

“Consumers need the confidence to engage in the domestic economy again and businesses need certainty.  Without either of these we will not see a return to real growth and jobs growth.  At the moment the Government’s efforts to tackle the unemployment crisis have failed and I am calling on them to change their strategy as a matter of urgency.”