Tuesday 22 October 2019

Time to appoint a specific Minister for Housing

Richard Bruton
Richard Bruton


Governments don't create jobs, but they do create the conditions within which jobs can be created.

The Coalition has approached the jobs crisis in a concerted fashion over the past four years through the implementation of the Action Plan for Jobs.

In 2012, the Government targeted the creation of 100,000 extra jobs by 2016. That target was achieved 21 months early and highlighted the potential of the whole of government approach to the jobs agenda.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton deserves great credit for coordinating this effort across every department and agency with even a vague jobs remit.

A new plan, Enterprise 2025, envisages driving the industrial planning structures to ensure that the mistakes of the past are not replicated and sustainable jobs growth remains a reality over the coming decade.

The Coalition is now confidently predicting policy changes and the development of the economy over the next five years will put more people at work than ever before.

The goal of the new plan is to make Ireland "the best place to succeed in business delivering sustainable employment and higher standards of living for all".

The plan aims to add 266,000 extra jobs by 2020, leading to more people at work in Ireland than ever before- 2.18 million - and resulting in unemployment falling to 6pc.

Considering the achievement to date of reducing the level of unemployment to below 9.5pc from a high of over 15pc, the target is not so outlandish.

However, the effort put into the jobs crisis begs the question of why this approach can't be replicated elsewhere?

The absence of a designated Minister for Housing and Infrastructure means housing policy has been haphazard, ill-thought-out and uncoordinated.

The next government needs to appoint such a minister at senior Cabinet level to replicate Mr Bruton's success in tackling the jobs crisis.

Irish Independent

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