Next months budget must include measures to address increasing unemployment figures – BREEN.

September 11th, 2008 - Pat Breen

Speaking  following the release of the August CSO Live register figures which show the continued upward spiral of unemployment with an additional 260 Clare people signing on  the,  Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen said that “the Government must include measures in next months budget to address our spiralling unemployment figures,” adding that “I will be pressing the Government to act immediately on the resumption of the Dail and impressing upon them the importance of including a regional dimension.” 

 According to the latest CSO figures an extra 260 Clare people signed on in the past month, 6283 in August 2008 compared to 6023 in July 2008 an extra 4.3%. There is no area of the County that has not been affected with an additional 132 people or 3.6% signing on in Ennis, 62 or 8.5% in Tulla, 42 or 5.3% in Kilrush and 24 or 2.7% in Ennistymon. Over the past 12 months 1804 or 40.3% have signed on, with the biggest increase in those signing on under the age of 25, 470 or a 57% increase. “It is a real cause of concern”, Deputy Breen added.

“The warning signs have been there for a significant period of time and it only this week that the Cabinet has woken up to realise that we have a crisis. They have announced that the Budget will be brought forward to next month, however, I fear that this is simply a publicity announcement aimed at halting the Taoiseach’s declining popularity and is not based on a clear economic strategy.”

“We are in this crisis because to date the Government has failed to act, they have introduced inflationary budgets driven by electoral needs, stalled public sector reform and abandoned value for money discipline and while international factors have played their part in creating a much tougher environment for the Irish Government, this Fianna Fail led government have left us more exposed than we need because of their inaction. As a result our growth rate has dropped by 6% in the last year, while across the EU growth rates have fallen by less than 1% and our prices have risen 50% faster than the EU average since 2000, making us the most expensive county in the Eurozone”

“We need to have a clear strategy to address this crisis, cut waste, cut tax and reform our public sector. By cutting our Vat we could help to keep prices down, by cutting Stamp duty for homebuyers we would boost the construction industry and by slashing the number of Quangos and agencies that duplicate tasks and resources we can save money.”

“Over the past twelve months I have consistently warned the Government that apart from the National crisis we have a crisis of confidence here in this Region due mainly to our Regions declining competitiveness and this must addressed by introducing a regional focus to any new economic strategy.”

“In that regard I want to see the legislation to give affect to the extension of the US Customs and Border Protection facility at Shannon Airport on the Governments legislation programme immediately after the summer recess, efforts must continue to restore connectivity to London Heathrow, A direct daily US Service to and from this Region must be maintained and Broadband must be fast tracked and we need to put an upskilling programme in place immediately to retrain those workers who have lost their jobs in the construction sector. We need to go back to basics and put the Mid-West Region back on the map as an attractive region to do business in.”

“The Government has squandered valuable time and now we have to wait a further six weeks before we see any concrete proposals, I hope that it will not be too little too late.”