02/01/2013

Cabinet Urged To Help Tackle Unemployment

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will chair a special cabinet meeting on jobs this month in an effort to tackle the increasing number of people claiming unemployment benefits.

The unemployment rate remains high at 14.6%, with some 423,300 claiming unemployment benefits.

Mr Kenny said he would be looking for major reforms that would have a quick impact on the jobs market.

He said: "I'm really serious about this. I will say to every minister with adequate notice now – I want to know what it is that you are intending to deliver with your department in terms of jobs."

The Government has promised to create 100,000 new jobs by the end of its term in office in 2016, but progress to date has been frustratingly slow.

The Department of Finance predicts the unemployment rate this year will remain at 14.6pc before dropping to 14.1pc next year and 13.1pc in 2015.

Mr Kenny said the cabinet meeting on jobs at the end of the month will have a particular focus on small and medium businesses and the domestic economy.

He said the drive for employment should not be left only to Jobs Minister Richard Bruton, who is in charge of monitoring the Government's Action Plan for Jobs.

"I don't want anyone to run away with the idea that there is one action plan that belongs to one minister or one ministry only," he said.

(H/GK)

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