Charlie Flanagan, Laois Offaly Fine Gael TD. Picture: Denis Byrne
A jobs-led recovery will see Laois and Offaly’s economy bounce back after Covid-19, according to Laois/Offaly Fine Gael TD Charlie Flanagan has said.
Deputy Flanagan was speaking after the Government launched its Economic Recovery Plan for the sustainable rebuilding and renewal of our economy now that the vaccine roll-out is comprehensively underway and the economy is re-opening in clear phases.
Dep Flanagan said Fine Gael successfully implemented a jobs-led recovery after the economic crash over a decade ago and plans to do the same again after the collapse caused Covid-19. He believes that his own constituency will reap a dividend.
"This new plan will help to drive a jobs-rich recovery across Laois & Offaly, with an overarching ambition of 2.5 million people across the country in work by 2024.
“The plan is focused on helping people back into work, re-building sustainable enterprises, creating a balanced and inclusive recovery, and ensuring sustainable public finances.
“The job creation element of the plan is significant. We know from past experience that this is the way to rebuild our economy. It includes in excess of €3.5 billion in further labour market and enterprise supports, intense and comprehensive activation and accelerated training, reskilling and upskilling opportunities, and just under €1 billion additional funding under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP)," he said.
He statement outlined the new focus.
“Crucially these jobs will be more productive, innovative, resilient and in new areas of opportunity, aligned with the Government’s green and digital ambitions. This reflects the acceleration of many trends, in particular increased online working and shopping, coupled with the urgent challenges we face in meeting our climate and housing targets.
“At the very beginning of the pandemic, Fine Gael in government responded decisively to support people’s income, putting in place an extraordinary range of supports for workers and businesses including through the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) and the COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS).
“These supports have been vital in sustaining businesses and workers, ensuring we are now at a point where they can plan to reopen and resume work again," he said.
The former minister said the Government Plan "comprehensively expands" EWSS and PUP and provides "clarity and certainty" for businesses and employees over the period ahead by outlining the next steps.
He added that it extends the CRSS and also enhances the re-start payment; extends the Commercial Rates Waiver until the end of September 2021; provides for a new additional Business Resumption Support Scheme; extends Tax Debt Warehousing until the end of 2021; and further extends the 9% tourism VAT rate until September 2022.
He said his party's work in the past has been important.
“Thanks to prudent economic management by Fine Gael in the years before the pandemic, our economy was in good shape to withstand the onslaught of Covid-19, allowing us to put in place all these supports and safeguards.
“We can and we will re-build the constituency’s economy; we will get our people back to work and safely emerge from the pandemic, and we will align our economy for the digitised and green future, by creating more productive, sustainable and importantly more secure and valued jobs,” concluded the TD.
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