Saturday 18 November 2017

ISME warns of Government complacency on jobs

The Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association today warned of Government complacency on jobs and demanded that employment is prioritised by introducing and implementing a badly needed jobs strategy.

The association said that while there has been a reduction in the last month in both redundancies and individuals ‘signing on,’ there is still a massive unemployment problem that needs to be addressed. This is 'paramount to future economic growth,' it said.

The latest seasonally adjusted live register figures confirm that 443,000 people are claiming assistance, up 17,400 on the corresponding period last year, an increase of 4pc, with the standardised unemployment rate standing at 13.6pc.

The redundancy figures confirm that there has been 51,385 redundancies to date an increase of 3,910 on the previous month, down 23.3pc on the corresponding period last year.

According to ISME chief, Mark Fielding, “Up to now, the Government has focused on restoration of the public finances and saving the banking system as the two key elements in our economic recovery.

"What is urgently required now is a focus on addressing the jobs crisis, with unemployment still remaining excessively high. Part of this policy needs to include developing, promoting and supporting enterprise”.

“There is no point in introducing a four year budget plan without addressing the jobs crisis. Somebody in the administration needs to wake up to the fact that any future growth forecasts are not worth the paper they are written on unless we get back to certainty and growth in the labour market.

"It should be noted that employment creation is the key to a sustainable economic future and in turn will assist in addressing our budgetary problems,” continued Fielding.

“Many small businesses are essentially hanging on by their fingertips, attempting to maintain the employment they have but are handicapped by a reduction in consumer demand exacerbated by exorbitant costs, late payments and a difficulty in accessing bank credit.

"Unless these issues are addressed as part of a Government jobs strategy, many companies will reduce their employment numbers,” Fielding concluded.

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