Jobs action plan cost nearly €30k to launch

Though the Department says it managed to reduce expenses...

The Government's Action Plan for Jobs cost in excess of €28,000 to launch.

Figures released from the Department of Jobs show that €14,000 alone was spent on printing the document, which laid out a key part of the Government's strategy for 2016.

Some €8,300 was spent printing copies of the plan and a table of actions for the media and various government departments. The cost of printing the regional action plan for jobs for Dublin and rural counties came to €5,500. The initial launch of the document cost 7,000 euro to stage. The Department says it reduced the expense of the launches by hosting them in corporate or business locations, lowering the cost of venue hire and hospitality.

The design costs for the document were around €3,500.

The department told Newstalk in a statement:

"The key objective of the Action Plan for Jobs process has been to rebuild Ireland's economy based on enterprise and entrepreneurship, talent, innovation and exports and provide a solid foundation for future growth. The new high level ambition set in 2016 is to create an additional 200,000 jobs by 2020.

"The 2016 Action Plan for Jobs outlines 304 actions which will be implemented this year by 16 Departments and over 60 agencies, continuing the cross-Government approach to the top priority area of job creation. There are actions to deliver the skills needs of our growing economy; drive export-led growth; increase innovation; maintain and improve our competitiveness; increase entrepreneurial activity; ensure appropriate access to finance; stimulate the domestic economy; and increase labour market participation."

According to the Central Statistics Office's latest figures, 157,700 people were out of work in December – the lowest since the economic crash.

The unemployment rate dropped to 7.2%. The seasonally adjusted rate was down 0.1% compared to November, and compares to the 8.9% rate recorded in December 2015.

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar welcomed the figures, saying: 

“Today’s figures confirm that our economy has continued to improve during 2016 resulting in a reduction of 35,500 in the number of people who are unemployed.

"I am determined to continue to make more changes for the better this year to ensure that the benefits of economic recovery are felt by every individual, household and region in the country through reduced unemployment, higher living standards and enhanced social protection.”

Additional reporting by Sean Defoe