Nothing new in Budget to bridge regional employment imbalance

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Dara Calleary has said the Government’s budget will do little to inspire confidence in its ability to spread the recovery to communities in all regions. 

Deputy Calleary explained, “A two tier recovery has taken hold with job creation concentrating growth unequally across Ireland. The latest KBC Bank Ireland/ESRI index of consumer sentiment for September points to an economic recovery still “remote” for most households. The 5 year IDA regional property programme comes too little too late and represents a carefully choreographed move taken on the precipice of an election.

“I welcome the fact that the budget contains some policy proposals that Fianna Fáil have consistently championed in opposition such as incentivising and rewarding entrepreneurs at the heart of the domestic economy. The self-employed earned income tax credit will readdress the tax inequity faced by our domestic job creators, while the reduction in the Capital Gains Tax rate for entrepreneurs is long overdue. However we feel greater ambition should have been shown in the rate reduction for entrepreneurs’ Capital Gains Tax and reduced further to 15% for people who establish and subsequently sell their own business, limited to relief on the first €10m of chargeable gains.

“I am very disappointed that the Department of Jobs’ expenditure budget will be slashed by €44 million in 2016. This comes at time of high levels of structural unemployment; a broad jobless rate is 18% and there are 118,600 people still in long term unemployment.  Youth unemployment is still unacceptably high, and the brain drain is continuing unabated. Since this Government took up office, an estimated 149,000 third level graduates have left the country.

“The Government is taking the credit for the increase in the minimum wage. It is in fact employers who are paying this increase. The increase as a result of budget measures is minimal for low pay earners and will result in €49 for someone on €15,000 per month.

“I am also alarmed to see that there has been no increase in the budget for the much heralded Local Enterprise Offices next year, while the cut to capital funding for Údaras na Gaeltachta in 2016 will come as a blow for people who live in Gaeltacht communities. This will further exacerbate the urban-rural divide and is indicative of Fine Gael and Labour’s attitude to the businesses in the regions”.
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