Government launches Economic Recovery Plan
A jobs-led recovery will see Cork’s economy bounce back after Covid, a Fine Gael Councillor has said.
Councillor John Paul O’Shea was speaking after the Government launched its Economic Recovery Plan for the sustainable rebuilding and renewal of our economy now that the vaccine roll-out is comprehensively underway and the economy is re-opening in clear phases.
Councillor O’Shea said, “Fine Gael successfully implemented a jobs-led recovery after the economic crash over a decade ago. This new plan will help to drive a jobs-rich recovery in Cork, with an overarching ambition of 2.5 million people across the country in work by 2024.
“The plan is focused on helping people back into work, re-building sustainable enterprises, creating a balanced and inclusive recovery, and ensuring sustainable public finances.
“The job creation element of the plan is significant. We know from past experience that this is the way to rebuild our economy. It includes in excess of €3.5 billion in further labour market and enterprise supports, intense and comprehensive activation and accelerated training, reskilling and upskilling opportunities, and just under €1 billion additional funding under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP).
“Crucially these jobs will be more productive, innovative, resilient and in new areas of opportunity, aligned with the Government’s green and digital ambitions. This reflects the acceleration of many trends, in particular increased online working and shopping, coupled with the urgent challenges we face in meeting our climate and housing targets.
“At the very beginning of the pandemic, Fine Gael in government responded decisively to support people’s income, putting in place an extraordinary range of supports for workers and businesses including through the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) and the COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS).
“These supports have been vital in sustaining businesses and workers, ensuring we are now at a point where they can plan to reopen and resume work again.
“Today’s Government Plan comprehensively expands EWSS and PUP and provides clarity and certainty for businesses and employees over the period ahead by outlining the next steps. It extends CRSS and also enhances the re-start payment; extends the Commercial Rates Waiver until the end of September 2021; provides for a new additional Business Resumption Support Scheme; extends Tax Debt Warehousing until the end of 2021; and further extends the 9% tourism VAT rate until September 2022.
“Thanks to prudent economic management by Fine Gael in the years before the pandemic, our economy was in good shape to withstand the onslaught of Covid-19, allowing us to put in place all these supports and safeguards.
“We can and we will re-build the Cork economy; we will get our people back to work and safely emerge from the pandemic, and we will align our economy for the digitised and green future, by creating more productive, sustainable and importantly more secure and valued jobs”, Councillor O’Shea concluded.
The Economic Recovery Plan
Helping people back into work by extending labour market supports and through intense activation and skilling:
- Significant extension of key labour market and enterprise Supports:
- PUP – extended beyond 30th June 2021 for all existing claimants; current generous rates of support will remain in place until the 7th of September and will only be gradually reduced on a phased basis in increments of €50 per week, with two further phases of changes on 16th November and 8th February 2022.
- EWSS extended beyond 30th June 2021 until the end of the year. Will remain at current enhanced rates of support for July, August, September. From then onwards the question of an employer contribution will be considered. To keep more people on the scheme the time period for assessment has been broadened from 6 to 12 months.
- New Pathways to Work 2021-2025 with overall target of increasing the caseload of the Public Employment Service by 100,000 per annum
- New Work Placement Experience Programme, to reach 10,000 participants by end-2022
- New Youth Employment Charter for intensive engagement with young jobseekers
- Expanding Jobs Plus scheme to 8,000 places with continued higher incentive for recruitment of young unemployed people
- Accelerating rollout of 50,000 education and training places, building on strong progress to date
- SOLAS Recovery Skills Response Programme with EU supported €114 million to provide a range of additional education and training programmes including SOLAS Green Skills Action programme
- Action Plan for Apprenticeships 2021-2025 to be rigorously implemented, to grow new apprentice registrations to 10,000 per annum by 2025.
- Reinvigoration of Ireland’s Skills Framework and Architecture
Re-building Sustainable Enterprises through targeted investments and policies to make enterprises more resilient and productive:
- Targeted supports for tourism and events
- Pilot live events for arts, culture, sports and live entertainment. Supports continue through Live Performance Support Scheme (LPSS), Music and Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme (MEBAS); and a forthcoming events sector support scheme.
- Lower Tourism VAT Rate of 9% further extended to September 2022. Fáilte Ireland will continue its support initiatives including through its Business Continuity Scheme or equivalent schemes.
- Roadmap for aviation recovery rooted in International travel roadmap, horizontal supports, and sector specific supports.
- New proposed pilot scheme for artists to support their income.
- Extension of COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) until the end of 2021 and enhancement of CRSS with significantly higher restart payment – three weeks at double rate of payment (to a maximum of €30,000).
- New additional Business Resumption Support Scheme from September for businesses with significantly reduced turnover.
- Small Business Assistance Scheme for COVID (SBASC) – broadened eligibility to assist a broader range of enterprise with grant aid to assist with fixed costs
- Extension of Commercial Rates Waiver in its current form for another three months
- Extension of Tax Debt Warehousing Scheme to the end of 2021
- Dedicated new standalone examinership process to reduce cost and timeframe for small companies – Small Companies Administrative Rescue Process (SCARP)
- Complimentary existing supports continue:
- €2 billion COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme
- Future Growth Loan Scheme
- Brexit Impact Loan Scheme
- ISIF Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund
- Sustaining Enterprise Fund
- Trading Online Vouchers and Online Retail Scheme
- Financial planning and other grant supports available through the Local Enterprise Offices, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, and MicroFinance Ireland
- Domestic sector supported by Ministerial-led implementation Group and Single SME Portal
- SME and Entrepreneurship Growth Plan – 2,000 additional SMEs to begin exporting by end 2025 and a further 3,000 additional micro and start up enterprises to be enabled to become Digital Exporters by the end of 2025.
- Enterprise Ireland’s strategic framework to drive transformational change
- €10 million Climate Enterprise Action Fund and online climate toolkit for businesses
- Leveraging and reinforcing strength of MNCs and International Trade
- IDA 2021-2024 Strategy – aims to win 800 total investments to support job creation of 50,000 and to target a 20% increase in client expenditure in Ireland
- New Trade and Investment Strategy and reviewed Global Ireland strategy
- Programme to Drive Digital Transformation of Enterprise in Ireland through €85m in new grants and New National Artificial Intelligence Strategy
- New National Strategy for Research and Innovation with national R&I targets and new €71m National Grand Challenges Programme
- National Clustering Policy and Enabling Framework and a further €40m investment under the Technological Universities Transformation Fund to aid development of Technological Universities
A Balanced and Inclusive Recovery through strategic investment, balanced regional development and improving living standards:
- Multi-billion euro strategic investment under the revised National Development Plan
- €915 million in first tranche of funding under the European Recovery and Resilience Facility
- Brexit Adjustment Reserve- Irelands proposed allocation represents just over 20% of the overall fund – over €1 billion
- The new Housing for All strategy will set out a whole-of-government approach to all aspects of the housing sector and target of 33,000 homes every year
- Loan guarantee for Low Cost Residential Retrofit Loan Scheme
- Rehabilitation of 33,000 hectares of former industrial peatlands
- €20 million River Basin Management Plan to upgrade rural waste water treatment plants
- Progressing €500m Shared Island Fund for North/South projects
- Leveraging National Remote Working Strategy and national connected hubs network
- Improving living standards, strengthening social dialogue mechanisms and a well-being framework for measuring progress
- Following a Public Consultation on the introduction of Statutory Sick Pay the General Scheme of a Bill will be published shortly, followed by enactment by end 2021
- The Low Pay Commission examining how best a living wage could be introduced in Ireland, with research to be completed before the end of the year
- Research being undertaken on the best approach to piloting a Universal Basic Income, via the Low Pay Commission, with recommendations in early 2022
- Supporting a Just Transition through the Climate Action Plans
- Significant initiatives to promote gender equality including through the Citizens’ Assembly and enacting the Gender Pay Gap Information legislation without delay
Ensuring we have robust, sustainable public finances
- Forthcoming Summer Economic Statement will include details on our medium- term deficit reduction framework
- Ireland working towards International Tax agreement at the OECD
- Commission on Taxation & Welfare, complemented by the Commission on Pensions and the development of an Automatic Enrolment retirement savings system will provide medium-longer term blueprints