Funding for schools, energy; cuts to VAT, PRSI - jobs plan
Cuts in VAT and PRSI rates, a €30m fund for school-building projects, the abolition of air tax, an expanded energy retrofitting plan and a reversal in the minimum wage are expected to be announced as part of the jobs initiative this afternoon.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan will also announce training and internship programmes aimed at the long term unemployed who number about half of the 440,000 on the Live Register. He is expected to take to his feet in the Dail at 5pm.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has already announced details of a finders’ fee scheme that offers members of the Irish diaspora €3,000 if they create a new job that lasts at least two years.
However, entrepreneur Jerry Kenelly, founder of tweak.com said today that that the plan was ‘bonkers’ and said that people like himself and members of the diaspora are doing this anyway, not for a €3,000 incentive.
“Moves that are needed are a lot simpler. There are lots of jobs and no efficient market place to find talent. A national jobs register is not an expensive thing to set up and gives an opportunity for people to make themselves available for internships,” he said.
Mr Kenelly added that there is currently a disconnect between the education system and what is available. “In reality there is a global shortage of talent, particularly in technology,” he said.
Today's jobs package will be paid for through a €500m tax on pension funds, which will be counterbalanced by tax relief on contributions to private pension funds.
The coalition is hoping the plan will act as a vote of confidence for consumers and businesses as well as encouraging employers to employ more staff.
Ministers are wary about putting precise figures on the number of jobs to be created.
There will be no changes to tax or social welfare in the jobs budget.
The jobs initiative will include:
- Loan guarantees and micro-loans for small businesses.
- A reduction in employers' PRSI and the lower rate of VAT.
- 5,000 internship places in companies.
Jobs will also be created by re-allocating funding to spend on:
- Retrofitting of insulation on homes.
- Extensions and repairs to schools.
- Upgrading of local roads.
Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton will also point to specific measures aimed at assisting the business sector.
In the tourism sector, the airport travel tax will be scrapped in return for new routes to bring in overseas visitors.
Transport and Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar will also announce a review of airport charges to bring in more flights and a fund to specifically advertise new airline routes to overseas visitors.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said last night that his party was worried about the Government's plan to use a "regressive" levy on private pension funds to pay for the jobs initiative.
He said it would cause problems down the road for people who had planned for their retirement -- and suggested the Government was doing it because "nobody will notice".
"That's why it's politically attractive to go down this route," he said.
Mr Martin said his party had not promised a jobs plan during the general election and would have instead concentrated on reducing the budget deficit.
"Jobs will be created by getting the environment right," he said.