Chambers Ireland welcomes launch of Action Plan for Jobs 2018

Chambers Ireland welcomes the publication by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation of the Action Plan for Jobs 2018.

Speaking last Friday afternoon, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland Ian Talbot commented, “The Government’s reaffirmed commitment to creating 200,000 new jobs by 2020 is welcome. If our economy is to continue to grow, we must not be complacent in relation to our shared goals to create and support employment. We also welcome the coordination of this commitment with the National Planning Framework by aiming to create 135,000 of these jobs outside the Dublin region.

Increasing the number of jobs in the economy will be predicated on increasing labour market participation, therefore we particularly welcome measures within the plan to increase female labour market participation specifically. However, if we are to retain women in businesses and attract women back to work, accessible affordable childcare must be widely available, and we therefore urge Government to make progress on the Affordable Childcare Scheme.

A report by Copenhagen Economics, commissioned by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, projects that between 10,000 – 20,000 jobs may be reallocated within Ireland’s economy following the UK’s exit from the EU, many of which could be lost in rural Ireland. As such, targeted measures to offset any potential job losses must be to the forefront of Government policy making.

We therefore welcome the continued emphasis on enhancing regional growth and we hope to see the refocusing of the Regional Action Plans for Jobs announced today strengthen regional specialisation and industry competitiveness across the country.

While we are supportive of the many measures included in the 2018 Action Plan for Jobs, tackling the high cost of living should be the top priority of Government in seeking to support businesses to create new jobs. Many businesses are dealing with continuous wage demands from employees who are facing ongoing increases to rent, high transport and childcare costs, amongst others. Businesses, the vast majority of which are SMEs in Ireland, cannot continue to absorb the high cost of living and we know that this, coupled with concerns around Brexit, is stifling job creation and delaying investment decisions.

If we are to successfully welcome an additional 200,000 sustainable jobs, tackling the high cost of living must be central to how we improve our competitiveness and attract investment.

Increased investment in infrastructure remains the top priority of our Network of Chambers and therefore effectively addressing issues in Ireland’s planning and procurement processes to ensure that the recently announced National Development Plan can be realised should now be a focus by Government.”