“The economic recovery is underway but more needs to be done to grow jobs in all regions and to support new business; this is the key goal of this year’s Action Plan for Jobs”, says John Paul Phelan, Fine Gael TD for Carlow/Kilkenny.
“This year over 1,200 new businesses were set up across all sectors of the economy. There is no shortage of entrepreneurial spirit or good ideas in this country but more can be done to ensure access to funding and to make it easier to do businesses.
“By implementing the new National Entrepreneurship Policy the number of jobs created from start-ups over the next five years will double from 93,000 currently. We will increase the number of start-ups, the survival rate and the capacity of start-ups to grow to scale.
“Last year the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) were launched. In 2015 the LEOs have ambitious and robust county strategies, each county council has been tasked with coming up with individual plans as to how they can promote their area, build on existing strengths and make it easier to do business in the locality.
“The Start-up Refunds for Entrepreneurs Scheme (SURE) will also make a big difference for new business in 2015. This scheme will make it possible for PAYE workers to claim back up to six years of income tax to start a new business.
“In order to bring jobs growth to the regions, the Regional Enterprise Strategy, starting in the Midlands, will be launched. New Competitive Funding Initiatives will see €25 million available to promote innovative collaborations, and to support entrepreneurship and innovation in the regions.
“This will consist of making areas like the South East attractive to new business but it will also mean taking advantage of the strengths we already have. In 2015 a new tourism brand will be developed for the South East and the Midlands building on the success of the Wild Atlantic way. We aim to attract 7.7 million oversee visitors to Ireland in 2015 as we work towards bringing employment in the Tourism sector to 250,000.
“This year’s Action Plan for Jobs is being launched against a much improved economic backdrop; the Government is now in a position to give back to those who have sacrificed so much over the past number of years. From this month, people will for the first time, feel changes made to USC and tax in Budget 2015. There is no doubt there is still a lot more work to do, but this plan is focused with real targets that will benefit all parts of the country.”