Friday 24 February 2017

ISME calls for Government to deliver on jobs promise

The Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) has called on the incoming Government to 'deliver on its jobs promise' by implementing policies to address the ongoing ‘disastrous’ unemployment.

According to ISME chief, Mark Fielding, “The latest seasonally adjusted live register figures confirm that 442,000 people are claiming assistance up 10,900 on the corresponding period last year. Consequently, the standardised unemployment rate stands at a disastrous 14.7pc”.

“In their first hundred days the Government must refocus on jobs and rebalance their overall efforts away from the banks and NAMA in favour of job retention and creation. However, the new government’s plan for jobs will be a waste of time, effort and money if business costs remain at the current high levels”.

“There is no point in offering grants and tax reductions for job creation without a parallel concerted effort to reduce the overall cost of doing business in Ireland.

"Compared to our international business competitors our basic, government influenced business costs are more expensive, in energy, local charges and transport, to name a few.

"In addition the public sector cost must be reduced faster than envisaged and certainly faster than what is happening, or not happening, under ‘Croke Park’, he continued.

ISME added that it recommends that the new government takes the opportunity of a new administration and a new era to adopt enterprise policies that will bring Ireland back to the top of the competitiveness league. These policies should include;

> A full overhaul of all government influenced business costs with a target of a reduction to below the EU average for all.

> An employment strategy to ensure that job increases are incentivised.

> Increased incentives for small business job creation, to compensate for the cost of on-the-job training.

> A reduction in state assistance for those who refuse job offers – two offers at a maximum.

> Abolish artificial wage control mechanisms such as those under the JLC system.

Fielding concluded by stating; “While the sound bite of a jobs stimulus is to be expected, the sound judgement of a complete overhaul of our competitiveness is where the real work has to be done.

"It is imperative that they introduce without delay the ‘jobs fund’ that was promised to be delivered within the first 100 days of their taking up office and address the demand and supply side inhibitors that are preventing employment creation”.

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