Enda Kenny won't commit to matching Labour promise on minimum wage

The plan also commits to extra spending for public services

Fine Gael, long term economic plan, jobs, spending, GE16, public services, health, Universal Social Charge

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Ministers Michael Noonan, Richard Bruton and Simon Harris launching the plan | Image via @FineGael on Twitter

The Taoiseach won't say if Fine Gael will commit to increasing the minimum wage by a further two euro an hour.

Tánaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton made the promise over the lifetime of the next Government when launching a jobs strategy today.

But responding this evening in County Westmeath, Enda Kenny wouldn't commit to an amount.

“Obviously we’ve referred in the plan here to sensible minimum wage increases,” Mr Kenny said.

“We did increase the minimum wage twice already; we did set up the low pay commission because there wasn’t any orderly structure to recommendations as to what the minimum wage should be.

“So what we’ve said is that we would make adjustments for sensible minimum wage increases,” he added.

Earlier today Fine Gael published its long-term economic plan.

It says the party would create 200,000 jobs over the next five years, abolish the Universal Social Charge (USC) and hire 10,000 extra nurses, gardaí and teachers.

The plan would also see €4bn invested in public services, and around €2.5bn given back to the public in tax cuts.

All of this would come out of the so-called 'fiscal space' which Fine Gael estimates is just over €10bn.

Launching the document, Taoiseach Enda Kenny claimed that if Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil were to get into government the recovery would come to a shuddering halt with their high tax and spend policies.

The plan aims to provide 50,000 apprenticeship and traineeship places and reduce taxes on start-ups to encourage more entrepreneurship.

The party also says it will protect the 12.5% Irish corporation tax rate, which it says is "a cornerstone of our global competitiveness".

Finance Minister Michael Noonan agrees - saying if the recovery is not kept going, there will be no money for the election promises.

Mr Kenny wants it to win votes for Fine Gael - but does not want credit for the economic recovery.