To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the steps that have been taken to ensure the numerous positive measures from the 2012 and 2013 action plans for jobs, many of which have proven their effectiveness with the recent positive employment figures, are continuing to be implemented; the evaluation process which monitors the progress of the action plans; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Seán Kyne.
R E P L Y
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Mr Bruton)
Since the Action Plan for Jobs was introduced in 2012, the Government has implemented over 500 actions to support job creation across all Government Departments and a significant number of State agencies. The aim of the Action Plan is to create a supportive operating environment for businesses in order to allow employment to grow across all sectors.
The 2012 Action Plan contained 270 actions and 92% of these were delivered by the end of that year. The 2013 Action Plan contained 333 actions and had a 90% implementation rate. Those commitments which were not implemented on schedule in 2012 and 2013 were carried forward to the subsequent year’s Action Plan, or replaced with more targeted measures.
A key strength of the Action Plan process is its cumulative impact – each year’s Plan builds on measures which have been initiated in the previous year. The 2014 Action Plan for Jobs was launched on 27th February continues and builds on many of the actions contained in the 2012 and 2013 Plans. Successful initiatives are mainstreamed or extended where their performance is positive.
It contains 385 actions for delivery across all Government Departments and 46 agencies, including measures to continue developing six of the Disruptive Reforms and many of the sectoral initiatives launched in 2012 and 2013.
The implementation of commitments made in the Action Plan each year is overseen by a Monitoring Committee co-chaired by the Secretary Generals of the Department of an Taoiseach and my own Department. The Committee also includes senior officials from both of those Departments, as well as from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, and Forfas. The Tanaiste’s Office is also represented on the Monitoring Committee.
Progress Reports on the delivery of key quarterly milestones for each action are published by the Government every three months for full transparency. This underlines the Government’s determination to deliver on each and every commitment to support employment.
The most recent Quarterly National Household Survey showed that there were 61,000 more people in employment in Quarter 4 2013 than a year previously. This was the fifth quarter in succession where employment grew year-on-year. We are now creating jobs in the enterprise sector faster than any other economy in the EU or the OECD. We have also seen our international competitiveness rankings improving and our exports growing. Where the economy was shedding 1,600 jobs per week before this Government came into office, 1,200 jobs are now being created on average each week.
However, we are not being complacent. There are sectors, particularly Construction and Retail, that were hit particularly badly by the economic downturn. We must do more to help these sectors to re-build and realise their jobs potential. The Government will be placing a focus on supporting these sectors under the 2014 Action Plan for Jobs.