IBEC president calls on Government to do more to tackle unemployment

THE newly appointed president of IBEC used his first address in his new role to demand that more is done to address the spiralling rate of unemployment.

At last night’s IBEC’s President’s Dinner in Dublin, Leo Crawford said business could be the primary creator of jobs if the Government would only provide the conditions that would allow that to happen. “Unemployment is one of the greatest risks to Irish economic recovery, with 439,100 people now finding themselves on the live register,” said Mr Crawford, who is group chief executive of BWG group. “This is where the energy of Government, unions and business must focus. We must foster an environment for job creation and get Ireland working again.”

He said a critical next step was a revised capital expenditure programme that prioritised the development of strategic infrastructure, helped sustain and create jobs and incentivised private sector investment.

“We need policies that underpin economic development. We must honestly review, in conjunction with Government and unions, both the cost of employing someone and the interaction between the labour market and the social welfare system. Otherwise we will not be able to get people back to work in sufficient numbers to make a real dent in the unemployment figures.”

On the issue of business reputation, he said a restoration of confidence both domestically and overseas, was essential to recovery.

“Unfortunately, unhealthy business behaviours contributed to this crisis, resulting in a loss of public trust and damage to the reputation of business generally,” he said. “We at the top of business must accept criticism and raise our game in the areas of governance, risk management and accountability.”

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