Fine Gael is best placed to steer Ireland through the pandemic recovery with an ambitious plan to support businesses and bring employment back to pre-crisis levels, according to Fine Gael bye-election candidate James Geoghegan.
Cllr Geoghegan said the party is committed to providing a clear pathway for the labour market and enterprise towards new opportunities as the economy reopens and the vaccination programme continues apace.
Cllr Geoghegan is chairing a discussion later today entitled ‘Reopening with confidence – the future of workers and businesses’ as part of the Fine Gael Ard Fheis.
Keynote speakers for the event include Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, TD, and Minister for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English, TD.
Cllr Geoghegan said: “The focus of tonight’s session is on the future and how can build a stronger and better economy and society when the pandemic is over.
“I believe that Fine Gael in Government are in the best position to chart the course for our recovery, and in particular support businesses and workers.
“Since the start of the pandemic, over €8 billion has been received by individual and families, with almost €79 million paid to support recipients this week alone.
“At the height of the pandemic, over 600,000 people were supported by the PUP, but thankfully we are now turning a corner, and in the last four weeks, over 95,000 people have closed their PUP accounts as the economy reopened further.
“583,000 workers have been assisted through the Employee Wage Subsidy Scheme to date, with over 50,000 businesses and employers supported to the tune of over €4 billion.
“22,700 businesses have availed of the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), to the tune of over €615 million so far.
“These supports will continue, and Government have provided clarity for businesses and employees over the period ahead by outlining the next steps in the recently published Economic Recovery Plan.
“This plan includes in excess of €3.5 billion in further labour market and enterprise supports and just under €1 billion additional funding under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP).
“There is also an ambition to have 2.5 million people in work by 2024, with plans to have jobs in new areas of opportunity aligned with Government’s green and digital ambitions.
“The pandemic has taught us new ways of living and working, and Government is now putting in place the laws and incentives to make remote and flexible working arrangements a viable option for people.
“For workers, the Programme for Government re-affirms Fine Gael’s commitment that there will be no increases in income taxes or USC rates. Based on the assumption that the economy recovers, and incomes recover and rise, credits and bands will be index linked to ensure the real burden of income tax doesn’t increase.
“There is a lot of work to do, and I would be honoured to have the opportunity to deliver positive changes for my constituency if I am elected to Dáil Eireann in the upcoming Dublin Bay South bye-election,” Cllr Geoghegan concluded.