Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Dara Calleary has described the Action Plan on Jobs 2013 as a another lost opportunity that does not do enough to give hope to the 14.6% of people unemployed.
Deputy Calleary said: “429,000 people are looking to this plan today for hope and I’m afraid they will be sorely disappointed.
“This government was elected on a promise to create 100,000 jobs but the cold reality of its own projections is that they only expect the number of people at work to grow by 18,000 by the end of 2015.
“Today’s Action Plan is all about spin and lacks the fundamental reforms needed to tackle the crisis. In recent weeks we have seen a number of major employers announce job losses. The retail sector is in absolute crisis. There is little in this plan to stimulate the domestic economy which with proper support can be the engine for job creation.
“Some of the specific initiatives in this plan demonstrate how spin rules over substance with this government. For instance the government plans to create a €70m energy efficiency fund to create 5,000 jobs but this is after Minister Rabbitte already cut funding for the better energy programme for homes by 20% in 2012 which had a knock-on effect on jobs in this sector.
“The government is failing to tackle rising costs for businesses and seems to have no interest in doing so. Just yesterday Minister Bruton told me businesses should shop around when I pointed out that there was an increase of over 2% in services costs in the first nine months of last year. Rising services costs for business is a clear barrier to job creation and actually threatens employment and it must be addressed.
“In relation to the government’s commitment to provide an additional 2,000 ICT graduates in 2013 – what we need to address here is the relevance of the content of ICT courses at third and second level to the jobs market. Delivery on this commitment will be constrained by the government’s decision to abolish career guidance provision at second level. A glib commitment to a headline grabbing figure is not the answer to our ICT and language skills shortage.
“Of course there are some positive initiatives contained in the plan which are to be welcomed including the target for increased online trade by businesses and plans for a single licensing application system for up to 25 licences. This will be of significant help to the retail sector and I hope to see that delivered as a matter of priority.”