Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

100,000 small firms jobs pledged

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said a new jobs creation plan will have strict targets

The Government has pledged to create 100,000 new jobs by 2015 by boosting lending to small businesses.

A new finance fund is being set up to generate up to 100 million euro to offer cash to enterprises nationwide.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: "It is an ambitious target for the Government to achieve. I'm very optimistic in respect of the confidence I find all over the country in businesses to accept the challenge in these economic times in creating new jobs."

Initiatives agreed upon by the Taoiseach, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Jobs Minister Richard Bruton at the third Cabinet meeting this week include measures to help businesses gain credit throughout 2012.

The Government described the new fund as a micro-finance scheme which it is believed could benefit more than 5,000 businesses over a 10-year period.

Mr Bruton also announced a new temporary partial credit guarantee scheme - for every 100 million euro guaranteed it will benefit 1,200 businesses. A second call for expressions of interest in 60 million euro (£51 million) remaining in the Innovation Fund Ireland will also be made.

"So as to ensure that we do not go down the road of recent Governments and make big announcements which are then forgotten about, this will be a rolling programme with strict targets for delivery and systems to monitor implementation," Mr Bruton said.

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) has criticised the plans, saying action must be taken now and not over a long drawn-out period. Mark Fielding, of the ISME, said: " The Government needs to start taking its role more seriously and desist from participating in PR stunts. What is required is less waffle, more action."

The Small Firms Association said it was concerned that no funding amount has been specified.

"We need a scheme with significant scale in the order of 400 million euro and we need the Government to commit that it will meet the demand in full for guarantee funding for small businesses," said director Patricia Callan.

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