Sunday 20 October 2019

Brexit dole fund of €365m would support 33,000 laid-off workers


Photo: Damien Eagers
Photo: Damien Eagers

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

THE Government has put aside enough cash to fund the dole for around 33,000 workers if they lose their jobs in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

A total of €365m is ringfenced for extra spending if the number on the live register grows. Another €45m is earmarked to help people "transition to new employment opportunities".

Every 10,000 people who are unemployed cost in the region of €110m so the extra spend would support around 33,000 new dole claimants.

This is in keeping with Central Bank predictions that there could be around 34,000 fewer jobs by the end of next year due to a no-deal Brexit.

However, it also anticipated that there could be a massive 110,000 fewer jobs over the next 10 years in the event of a no-deal scenario.

"I believe these supports will be sufficient but if required, this Government stands ready to do more," said Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe.

Economist Alan McQuaid said the Government had to put some amount down, but probably "didn't want to appear too alarmist".

He said the money is likely to be aimed at employees in agri-food and small to medium-sized businesses that are most exposed to a no-deal scenario.

"It's probably prepared to put more aside, and it seems to me it will borrow if it has to," he said.

"It's like me saying to you, who's going to win the match tomorrow, and what's the score going to be? We all know it could be bad news, but after that we haven't a clue."

The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed welcomed the supports for businesses and sectors most likely to bear the brunt of Brexit's economic impact.

"The announcement of additional funding for the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is welcome as planning for the employment impact of Brexit will be critical, and in particular supporting people to manage the impact on their lives and how they can secure alternative and decent employment," it said in a statement.

However, the National Recruitment Federation pointed out that unemployment is at its lowest level since 2005.

It warned that employers are currently crying out for workers.

CEO Geraldine King said Budget 2020 has failed to bring in any measures to lure more staff into the workplace.

She said she was disappointed that there were no tax cuts.

"Unemployment is at 4.5pc, its lowest level since 2005 and firms in sectors such as construction, IT, food and health are struggling to recruit staff," she said.

"Over 11,000 foreign work permits were issued here in 2018 alone, showing the massive skills shortage facing many Irish employers."

She said the organisation would have preferred massive investment in public transport before the introduction of carbon taxes.

Irish Independent

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