Tuesday 16 January 2018

Minister set to scrap 41 state agencies in major quango cull

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton

Fionnan Sheahan Group Political Editor

A CULL of quangos will abolish 41 different state agencies in the coming months.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton will bring proposals to Cabinet tomorrow to abolish 35 enterprise boards next month. Another six agencies in his area will follow by the autumn.

The 35 City and County Enterprise Boards are being scrapped in April to be replaced by Local Enterprise Offices, operated by the local councils.

The new LEO offices are intended to be a one-stop-shop for any businesses being set up and will provide information and assistance on a range of government schemes.

Forfas is going to be merging with the Department of Jobs, once the necessary law is passed.

The legislation will be debated at committee stage in the Dail this week.

Later in the month, the law to merge the consumer and competition agencies will go before Cabinet.

And legislation to abolish Shannon Development will be published in the coming weeks.

A source close to Mr Bruton said the five separate projects will deliver the services "a modern, jobs-rich economy needs".

"Minister Bruton has been an advocate of reform for many years in opposition. Reform is never easy and there are always difficulties and obstacles along the way – but staff, management and other stakeholders have really engaged with these processes," the source said.

The LEOs will give information and guidance to start-ups and small enterprises on supports available through Revenue, Microfinance, Credit Review Office, Department of Social Protection, Education and Training Boards.

Information on other sources of financial support, commercial space, rates payment plans, planning and environmental regulation will also be provided.

The LEOs can also provide grants and other supports such as mentoring and training; start-ups and micro businesses with potential to trade internationally. For other start-ups or small businesses, the LEO can provide information and training, including business planning or other business skills.

The offices will also promote a culture of entrepreneurship at local level, primarily aimed at students and under 25s. A new Youth Entrepreneurship Programme is also being developed.

Irish Independent

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