¼ million jobs for growing workforce through investments in research, upskilling and supporting firms
"Plan Shows How Ireland Can Be Leading High-Pay Economy"
Fianna Fáil today released its jobs and enterprise policy for the next five years showing how the party proposes to help create high-paying jobs for a growing workforce.
Called Keeping Ireland Working - The Next Steps Forward, the plan was launched by Enterprise Minister Micheál Martin and Finance Minister Brian Cowen and sets out a series of initiatives designed to support firms to grow and workers to take higher-paying jobs.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Martin said that while 600,000 jobs had been created under recent Fianna Fáil-led governments, further steps are required to help firms compete and win in the global economy.
He said the numbers entering the labour force each year meant we must keep working on creating jobs.
He went on to outline details of the party’s plans, including major investment in research, support for smaller businesses trying to grow and sell in export markets and a programme to upskill hundreds of thousands of workers.
Martin said that local government levies should not be imposed without account being taken of their impact on enterprise. He said that local authorities are adequately funded without needing to increase commercial rates.
Finance Minister Brian Cowen explained that the objectives in the plan were also based on implementing sound economic policies.
He confirmed that the measures proposed are to be fully funded through the National Development Plan.
Cowen said that the protection of the 12.5% corporation tax rate is only safe in FF hands even though the Labour Party's Ruairi Quinn proposed the measure to the European Commission when he was Minister for Finance.
The ministers said Fianna Fáil intends making jobs and enterprise a core part of its campaign and that neither Fine Gael or Labour have included even a mention of jobs in their basic platforms.
Finfacts Comment: I said to Minister Martin at the press conference, that while the proposals in the document are laudable, they will have a minimal impact on economic activity in the coming five years.
Referring to the baseline year 2006, which was an excellent period for economic growth in Ireland and in the global economy, only 6,000 jobs of the total of 86,000 that were created in 2006, were in the tradable goods/service sectors of the economy and I asked for comparable figures for the coming 5 years. No figures were given.
Given the limited size of the indigenous tech sector with no firm having annual revenues of more than $100 million and the fact that 92% of exports are made by foreign firms, I said that it looks that our strong dependence on foreign firms for growth will continue. However, in 2006, Irish exports only increased in US dollar terms by 3%, the lowest of the top 30 of the world's exporters. So, the challenges for the foreign-owned sector are also high.
Nobody mentioned the fragile property market, which is also key to continued high employment levels.
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