National jobs initiative to be announced says Noonan
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has confirmed in the Dáil that the Government's jobs initiative will be announced next Tuesday.
He said that the jobs initiative will be morale boosting and confidence-building as opposed to a 'huge spend'.
Employers' body IBEC said radical and decisive steps are needed to tackle unemployment. The group has made a submission to the Government ahead of the publication the jobs initiative. It calls for reform of State services, changes to wage rules and a loan scheme for small business.
The group said the Government should set up a national graduate internship programme and a work placement programme for the unemployed.
It also called for new third-level courses to help move those with construction-related skills into other areas of employment.
IBEC said a substantial loan guarantee scheme for small and medium enterprises should be introduced and it called for a big overhaul of the wage rules that set minimum terms and conditions in many sectors.
It said that there should be no further reduction of the public capital investment programme and a renewed focus on public private partnerships.
The director of policy at IBEC Brendan Butler said work had to be worthwhile but employers were in competition with the State benefits system for people who are long-term unemployed in receipt of full benefits.
Mr Butler said Ireland was unique in Europe in that those on long-term benefits receive the same amount of money as those who have just lost their jobs.
Meanwhile, In the Dáil Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin claimed that the Taoiseach had admitted that the jobs initiative had been 'over-hyped', and that it appeared many of the elements were being reannounced or rebranded.
Responding to comments, the Taoiseach conceded that the initiative was not going to sort out Ireland's unemployment problem overnight, but it would provide a stimulus.
Enda Kenny said he would 'love' to be in a position to read out a list of initiatives to be funded by the €3bn that was being put into Anglo and other banks every year for the next 10 years.
The Taoiseach said that the situation was challenging, but it was not hopeless.