Troika update sets out plans on jobless

Tuesday 14 February 2012 20.07
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Government to look at ways of getting jobseekers back to work
Government to look at ways of getting jobseekers back to work
Update sets out timetable for IL&P restructuring
Update sets out timetable for IL&P restructuring
Eamon Gilmore says change of language from troika is good news for economy
Eamon Gilmore says change of language from troika is good news for economy
Plans for at least €3.5 billion of measures in Budget 2013
Plans for at least €3.5 billion of measures in Budget 2013

The Government is to evaluate actions it will take against unemployed people who do not turn up to an interview with employment or training agencies, a memo under the EU/IMF plan reveals today.

The Department of Finance has published an update of its commitments under the EU/IMF programme.

The document includes commitments to strengthen training and intervention policies aimed at getting jobseekers back to work. The Department of Social Protection is to prepare a plan after an evaluation of how these policies should work, including penalty sanctions and whether the long-term unemployed have "adequate incentives and skills" to return to work.

The Government says it will prepare a preliminary proposal for the restructuring of Irish Life & Permanent by the end of this month, with a final decision by the end of April. It says this will build on an analysis of options completed by the bank itself, with recapitalisation to be completed by the end of the second quarter.

It also says the Government will provide details of plans to sell off State assets for discussion with the troika by the end of March, following the completion of a study on any legislative or regulatory issues which need to be addressed.

It also says it will update the troika by the end of March on progress towards the introduction of water meters, with a detailed implementation plan by the end of April. This is with a view to bringing water charges in by the end of the EU/IMF programme at the end of 2013.

The memo says Irish authorities will undertake a review of whether the Competition Authority has enough resources to enforce competition law properly.

The Government also commits to strengthening the "inability to pay" clause in planned legislation on the pay rules known as Employment Regulation Orders and Registered Employment Agreements, which cover some sectors of the economy.

The paper also sets out plans for at least €3.5 billion of measures in Budget 2013, including tax-raising measures of €1.25 billion. These will include "a broadening of the personal income tax base", an increase in excise duty and other indirect taxes, and a restructuring of motor tax. The document stresses, however, that the Government can substitute one or more of these with others which would have the same effect.

Gilmore welcomes Troika 'language' on state assets

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said new language about the sale of State assets in the latest Memorandum of Understanding with the troika is "very significant".

Mr Gilmore said this was the first time the troika had agreed to a reference to some of the proceeds being used to reinvest in the Irish economy.

He said that is going to help the Irish recovery, because the Government had always said that recovery will have to be based on the creation of jobs.

On proposals to make benefits dependent on co-operation with training offers, which are to be announced next week when the "Pathways to Work" documents is published, Mr Gilmore said they planned to recast the welfare system so it is an assistance to people to get back to work rather than entrapping them in permanent unemployment.