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Government launches Action Plan for Jobs

[ Thu, 16th Feb 2012 ]
The Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation on Monday launched the first annual Action Plan for Jobs, the Government’s plan to rebuild the economy and create jobs. The plan, which contains over 270 actions to be implemented in 2012 by all 15 Government Departments as well as 36 State agencies, will improve supports for job-creating businesses and remove barriers to employment-creation across the economy.

Action Plan for Jobs 2012 builds on work across Government to deliver reform and create economic growth, and will deliver on the third major strand of Government’s economic programme. The first was the plan to rebuild the banking system’s capacity to extend credit into the economy. The second was the plan to reduce the interest rates for the government, banks and enterprise by cutting the government deficit and downsizing the public sector. Building on the work of Ministers Noonan and Howlin to stabilise the public finances and the banking system, the third strand now is to build on this progress with the wider economic reforms needed to accelerate jobs growth and get the country working again.

Ministers Burton and Quinn are delivering on a fundamental transformation of the training and activation services that the State provides, and further details will be unveiled shortly.

Action Plan for Jobs 2012 is the first instalment in an ambitious multi-year process which aims to deliver on the Taoiseach’s commitment to make Ireland the best small country in the world in which to do business, and increase the number of people at work in Ireland by 100,000 – from 1.8million to 1.9million – by 2016. The measures to be implemented in 2012 include:

1. Establish a “one-stop-shop” for small business supports, by dissolving the County and City Enterprise Boards and creating a new Micro-Enterprise and Small Business Unit in Enterprise Ireland that will work with Local Authorities to establish a new network of Local Enterprise Offices in each Local Authority

2. Implement a range of new supports for small and medium-sized businesses struggling to access credit, including a €150million Development Capital Scheme aimed at addressing a funding gap for mid-sized, high-growth indigenous companies with significant prospects for jobs and export growth. A Loan Guarantee Scheme and a €100million Micro-Finance Loan Scheme will also go live shortly

3. Better support indigenous companies to improve their performance , including:

• establishing a new Potential Exporters Division in Enterprise Ireland to identify more and better support indigenous exporters

• up to €1.2 million per year in extra funding for mentoring and management development networks

• increased mentoring of SMEs by top business leaders, multinationals and large Irish companies

• assisting small businesses to engage in R&D and innovation

4. Help more small businesses win big contracts, both from Government and from large multinationals

5. Implement the ‘Succeed in Ireland’ scheme, to provide direct incentives to members of the diaspora and others across the world to create jobs in Ireland

6. Turn more good ideas into good jobs, by implementing a Research Prioritisation Plan and enacting new laws to target the State’s core €500million annual research budget towards more applied areas of research with strong potential for commercialisation and job-creation

7. Create a vibrant environment for business start-ups, attracting more international start-ups and making it easier for indigenous businesses to establish here

8. Measures to reduce costs, including a request to Government Department and Agencies to identify, by next month, charges levied on business that can be frozen or reduced for 24 months

9. The Government will identify a number of key sectors which will be major sources of job-creation and economic growth, such as:

• Manufacturing, including establishment of a Manufacturing Development Forum

• Establish a Health Innovation Hub to drive collaboration between the health system and the life sciences industry

• Publish and implement a Cross-Departmental Plan for the Green Economy

• Agri-food – including winning more investment from multinational food companies for Ireland

• Cloud computing – including a Cloud Computing Strategy for the Public Service and establishment of a research centre in cloud computing

• Establish a cluster development team for digital games

• Establish industry clusters in targeted sectors

The Plan is accompanied by a detailed list of the more than 270 actions which includes the measures required to implement each action, the Government body responsible for implementation in each case, and the deadline in 2012 by which each measure will be delivered. In order to police implementation of the measures, the Cabinet has sanctioned the establishment of a Monitoring Committee which will be chaired by the Taoiseach’s Department and will also include representatives of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and Forfás. A number of expert staff from Forfás will work closely with the Department of the Taoiseach to assist with the monitoring process. Quarterly reports on implementation will be prepared and published by this monitoring group.

In addition, a series of regional meetings will be held over the coming months as part of the on-going process of consultation on job-creation. Details of these meetings will be announced shortly.

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