Minister English’s Budget 2016 Speech

Action Plan for Jobs, Apprenticeships, Budget 2016, Business, Education, I.T., Jobs, Meath, Research and Innovation, Skills, Speeches, Startups, Wesmeath

On Wednesday night 14th October I addressed the Dáil on Budget 2016:

This budget is designed to support the recovery, hard pressed families and begin future proofing the economy.

This budget is neither the hair shirt budget that some Economists have called for, nor is the silk shirt that the opposition seem to think we can afford, rather it is a prudent budget that will create jobs.

It will remove barriers to work and make work pay, grow the economy and keep the recovery going while reducing the current account deficit.

Business in Ireland has welcomed this budget. Danny McCoy of IBEC said “The budget is right for the economy at this time and signals a new phase of economic development. The crisis is behind us and we are planning ahead. The Government has taken on board the concerns of business, reduced tax and encouraged private investment.”

ISME and the SFA have also welcomed the Budget. The SFA Chairman, A J Noonan stated “This Budget is a strong endorsement by Government of the importance of entrepreneurship and small business in Ireland.”

But this is not just a budget for business and jobs, it is also a budget for our young families.

My constituency of Meath West has one of the highest concentrations of young families in the country, with a youth dependency ratio of over 38%.

You only have to walk around the streets of Navan, Trim or Enfield to see just how young our communities are. Our young population means we can look forward to a more hopeful future, but families cannot live on hope alone.

They need help now and this budget does just that.

Cutting USC, raising child benefit, and extending the free preschool scheme to accommodate all three to five year olds will benefit young families in Meath West and throughout the country.

These families endured a lot of the pain in the recession it is only right that they get some of the gain from the national recovery.

Talk to any parent on the doorsteps in Meath West – education and the future of our children is a major focus. This budget will reduce class sizes; it will recruit an additional 2,260 teachers.

This budget will deliver a better education to our children and will invest in career guidance. This will help our children chose the courses and the skills they need to get a good job and build a better future.

With this budget young school leavers will now have a lot more choice in their career paths.

We are investing an additional €10.5m to effectively double the number of Apprenticeship Schemes available in Ireland.

These 25 new Apprenticeship Schemes will cover areas such as

ICT,

Transport and Logistics,

Financial Services,

Tourism and Hospitality

and the bulk of these will be delivered in 2016.

We need to refocus the third level system to create a more enterprise responsive educational system; we need to provide the skills that students and industry require.

Future proofing the Economy is all about building skills at all levels including our pool of research skills.

Ireland’s future economic growth and prosperity will depend on our continued investment in science, technology and innovation.

This investment is all about developing:

A competitive knowledge based economy and society;

Driving innovation in enterprise;

Building human capital

And maximising the return on R&D investment for economic and social progress.

Investment in research and development is crucial for creating and maintaining high-value jobs.

In addition to the investment announced yesterday, my Department will be allocating an additional €29m specifically for investment in research and innovation to spend before the end of this year.

In addition to this, the overall 2016 capital investment will allow Enterprise Ireland to:

Support 100 Innovative High Potential start Up Companies in 2016 employing 2,000 people.

Issue six Competitive Start Fund calls with a target of financially supporting 85 innovative entrepreneurs.

Fund over 100 in-company R&D projects for companies that are valued in excess €100,000, and

Continue the development of Knowledge Transfer Ireland and the wider national Technology Transfer system to create 30 new spinout companies

For Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the 2016 allocation will:

Continue to fund the 12 SFI Research Centres, which represents an investment of €355m from the government and €190m from over 200 industry partners.

Train some 3000 researchers for key positions in Industry

Science Foundation Ireland will also undertake a recruitment campaign in partnership with the Irish Universities to attract world-class researchers.

I am pleased that Ireland’s participation in the European Space Agency (ESA) will continue to support a growing number of Irish companies in the rapidly expanding European and Global space markets. In this sector we will see:

A doubling of sales to over €80m

A rise in total employment to over 2,300, and

An expansion in the number of companies actively engaged with ESA to over 75

We are competing in an ever more competitive global environment. I am therefore pleased to report that work is almost complete on a new Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation.

It is now time for fresh strategic ideas to make research work to maximum effect for the country.

The vision for the new Strategy will be underpinned by 5 key goals:

an internationally competitive research system;

excellent research with relevance and impact for the economy and for society;

a renowned pool of talent in both academia and industry;

a joined-up research eco-system, responsive to emerging opportunities;

and a strong innovative enterprise base, growing employment, sales and exports.

We need to ensure that we have a world leading state-of-the-art research and innovation ecosystem in Ireland.

I am confident that the upcoming Strategy will provide us with the roadmap to deliver on this ambition for Ireland.

To conclude a Leas Ceann Comhairle,

This Budget charts a responsible, prudent path to fiscal stability, economic growth and opportunity.

The Budget marks a new stage in Ireland’s road to full recovery and a more sustainable future.

It will support that recovery and will begin to future proof the economy.

I commend this budget to the House and to the country.

Free preschool for all children from age 3 to primary school and first ever paid paternal leave – English

Budget 2016, Childcare, Education, Funding, Meath, Wesmeath

Meath West Fine Gael TD and Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English has said that €85 million in childcare measures announced today in Budget 2016 will reduce costs for hard working parents, as well as improving the quality of the care available to their children.

“The Government has confirmed its commitment to investment in childcare, to ensure that we increase affordability, quality and accessibility for parents and children across Ireland. This is a real and meaningful first step, that will have both social and economic returns far into the future.

“Among the range of measures in Budget 2016, aimed at helping hard working parents are:

  • An extension of the free pre-school year, meaning free pre-school for all children from age 3 to primary school (there will be three windows for parents to enrol their children in the scheme – September, January and April)
    · Over €15m will be used to make pre-school more accessible for children who special needs
  • Two weeks of new paid paternal leave, which will kick in for fathers from next September
    · A €5 increase in child benefit, to €140 per child per month
  • An extension of the Community Childcare Subvention Programme, which offers low income parents, reduced rates.5,000 extra childcare places through private and community providers this year and 8,000 next year
    · A €3 million capital fund will support childcare providers to develop after-school services
    · There will also be a number of measures to improve the quality of childcare provision, including an audit of all childcare, increased inspections and investment in training for childcare workers.

“In addition to these childcare measures families will also benefit from a reduction in class sizes in primary school to 27 pupils to 1 teacher (the lowest level they have ever been), 2260 additional primary and post-primary teachers in 2016 and an extension of free GP care to all children under 12.

Minister English comments on Dept. of Enterprise Budget 2016

Action Plan for Jobs, Business, I.T., Jobs, Research and Innovation, Startups

Budget 2016 “hits the bullseye for startups, entrepreneurs and jobs”, as it incentivises innovative startups, rewards successful entrepreneurs and makes sure that the jobs that are created will really pay, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD said today. He was joined at a post Budget Press Conference by Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English T.D.

Minister English said: “Ireland’s future economic growth and prosperity will depend in very large measure on our continued investment in science technology and innovation. This investment is all about developing a competitive knowledge based economy and society, driving innovation in enterprise, building human capital and maximising the return on R&D investment for economic and social progress. Over the past number of years Ireland has built up a strong science base which has yielded results in terms of economic and societal impact. In Budget 2016 the Government is building on this success by prioritising the funding available for research, development and innovation. It also aims to maximise the impact of this investment on jobs and on the economy. A new science and innovation strategy under development will provide the roadmap for the next phase of Government investment”.

Among the new pro-jobs taxation measures announced today are:

  • Reduced Capital Gains Tax rate of 20% for successful entrepreneurs
  • Reductions in the USC affecting middle-income workers and creating jobs
  • Income tax credit of €550 for self-employed people, with improvements in future years
  • Knowledge Development Box – globally ‘best in class’ and first OECD-compliant scheme,competitive rate of 6.25% on qualifying income, benefits for SMEs, in place from 1st Jan 2016
  • Extension of tax relief for start-up companies
  • Employment and Investment Incentive scheme to increase availability of investment finance for business – extension of scheme to include all geographical locations, and increase thresholds

Minister English welcomes €10.5 million for new Apprenticeships in Budget 2016

Apprenticeships, Jobs

The Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD, has welcomed the provision of €10.5 million to expand the apprenticeship programme. The Government has, in Budget 2016, increased the National Training Fund allocation for apprenticeship from almost €50 million to over €60 million. This will allow for the development of new apprenticeship programmes and cater for increased registrations in existing trades.

Minister English said that “since my appointment, I have been committed to developing our apprenticeship system. We now have high quality proposals identified by the Apprenticeship Council in new areas such as ICT, Transport and Logistics, Financial Services and Tourism and Hospitality. This funding will allow for their development into new apprenticeships in 2016”.
He continued by stating that “Apprenticeship is an excellent route to a sustainable high quality career for young people as well as delivering highly skilled and job ready employees to meet the skill needs of industry. I am delighted that we are not just expanding apprenticeship into new areas but that registrations on existing programmes are continuing on an upward curve after a number of very difficult years”.
“The increase in registrations with employers for existing Apprenticeships which are up almost 20% in 2015 over 2014 are a clear vote of confidence in the future by both employers and young people. The Irish economy is now in recovery mode after many years of recession.” said Minister English “and investing in skills is one of the best things we can do to ensure we build a sustainable recovery and future proof the Irish economy.”
Minister English also welcomed that Budget 2016 will enable some 270,000 further education and training places to be delivered through SOLAS funding to the Education and Training Boards and through Skillnets.
The Minister said that “the Government has delivered major reform of the further education and training sector through new structures and processes that will enable provision to be targeted effectively to meet the needs of learners and employers. I am confident that SOLAS and the Education and Training Boards will carefully plan the delivery of these places to deliver the maximum positive impact for learners and for the economy.”

Minister English meets with IFA in advance of Budget 2016

Farming, Food, Meath, Wesmeath
IFA Briefing for Budget 2016 at the Davenport Hotel, Dublin on Tuesday, 29 September 2015. Photography by Brendan Duffy.

IFA Briefing for Budget 2016 at the Davenport Hotel, Dublin on Tuesday, 29 September 2015.
Photography by Brendan Duffy.

It was great to meet with the IFA locally and nationally today Tuesday 29th September in advance of Budget 2016.

Agriculture, and the wider agri-food sector is a major part of the Meath West economy, but it is often undersold, and under highlighted.

Thousands of jobs in Meath West are supported both on family farms, and in the wider food and drink processing sector.  The value of agri-related exports arising from product in Meath is almost €0.5 Billion.  In Co. Westmeath the value of agri-related exports arising from product in that County is almost €250 million.

This must be supported and encouraged into the future to promote even more local jobs and growth.