Labour says job creation must be priority in budget

FRONTLINE services are being cut to pay for unemployment, according to Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore, who accused the Government of creating “the greatest false economy”.

Mr Gilmore said job creation must be the number one priority in today’s emergency budget.

“It simply doesn’t make sense. We are cutting frontline expenditure to pay for unemployment, instead of investing that money in keeping jobs, or the skills that will keep people out of long-term unemployment,” he said.

The Labour Party yesterday published a plan that would put 30,000 people back to work at a cost of €233 million to the state or €20,000 each year per head.

The party’s “Just the Job” policy document proposes a PRSI exemption for 18 months for employers who give a job to someone who has been six months out of work.

It also outlines plans for a graduate apprentice and placement scheme.

This would involve employers accepting graduates for six months who would be paid the standard dole rate by the Government plus an extra €150 per week.

The policy document said this would end the cycle for graduates of “not enough experience to get work and not enough work to get experience”.

Mr Gilmore said: “We are proposing a number of measures that would ring-fence the placements so that they don’t displace existing employees or so they don’t in any way undermine employment conditions for existing employees.”

He said job creation is the key to getting out of this economic recession.

“Any of the tax measures and other measures that will be announced in the budget, should be done on the basis of fairness,” he said.

“They have got to support jobs, create new jobs to get us out of the recession.

“Whatever they do in the budget, it has to be done fairly and that is Labour’s two key messages to the Government in advance of the budget.”

The party is also calling for a redrawing of the National Development Plan to invest in new school buildings and provide construction employment.

Spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Willie Penrose said: “More than 40,000 pupils are attending classes in prefabs. Communities need schools and builders need jobs. We should be getting these skilled workers back into productive activity without delay.”


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