Update: Ireland: Coalition drops 2018 full-employment target
Ireland Spring Statement: Michael Noonan, finance minister, today presented an outline of the budgetary framework in advance of Budget 2016 which will be presented next October. He said the Department of Finance had forecast that 200,000 net new jobs will be added by 2018. This is an average of 50,000 net new jobs per year in each year from 2015.
The statement says: "As a result, the target will be achieved this year, one year earlier than planned — the forecast is for 2.1m people to be at work by end-2018, which would a full replacement of the jobs lost during the downturn with new jobs."
Last January the Department of the Taoiseach fiddled the data suggesting that 160,000 would be added by 2018 and Enda Kenny, taoiseach, said that the jobs target was "40,000 new jobs" in 2015.
In 2003 and 2004 according to CSO data 61,000 and 29,000 jobs were added respectively — so 50,000 per year net on average each year out to 2018 is a hope.
The Government says a “Jobs Ambassadors” project has been initiated to establish a team of well-trained communicators from within the Civil Service who will help contribute to the Government’s top priority of job creation and tackling unemployment, by helping raise awareness of a range of Government programmes at key events across the country, including “Supporting SMEs”
The Government said that fiscal space of the order of €1.2bn and up to €1.5bn will be available for tax reductions and investment in public services. "The final scale of the space will become clearer closer to the Budget. The partners in Government have also agreed that the agreed space will be split 50:50 between tax cuts and expenditure increases and the actual measures will be announced in Budget 2016. The tables in the Spring Statement are based on a general split of €1.2bn but I expect that by October’s Budget this will be €1.5bn."
Brendan Howlin, public spending minister, said Budget 2016 will seek to increase expenditure by €600m to €750m, allowing the Government to deal with “demographic pressures” in social protection, education and health.
"Earlier today, the Government agreed to my proposal to enter into discussions with the trade unions on the issue of public service pay," Howlin said. "The pay reductions are governed by financial emergency legislation that requires me to annually review the status of that emergency. As the economy improves, the prospect of a successful legal challenge to the financial emergency increases. It is prudent therefore to plan for an orderly unwinding of the emergency provisions. Not to do so would be foolhardy."
Spring Statement: Coalition visionless on Irish economy's long-term challenges