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"Rebuilding Sustainable Construction Jobs" - Govt announces plans for the sector


The Government today, 25 July 2013, welcomed the publication of the Forfás report on Ireland's construction sector and announced a plan to improve the levels of activity and employment in the sector (note: Government Policy Statement attached below). A sustainable construction sector supports development across the economy but evidence suggests that there has been an overcorrection in relation to its size and contribution to the economy and to job creation.

Announcing the range of Government measures, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny said:
"The decline in the construction has taken an unprecedented toll on jobs in the sector. We are not going back to the days of an artificial and unsustainable property bubble. But there is clear room for greater levels of activity and scope to create jobs for many who have the skills, the experience and the desire to play their part in Ireland's recovery. In rebuilding a sustainable construction sector we also have to confront its deficiencies which tolerated poor standards through a weak regulatory and enforcement regime. There is no silver bullet but there are lots of individual measures we can implement which, taken together, can make a real difference. Greater coordination of activity, tackling the shadow economy, improving regulatory compliance, a better planning regime and upskilling for new activity can all play a part in increasing the number of jobs in the sector."

The Forfás report was commissioned by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, as part of the Action Plan for Jobs. Speaking following the publication of the report today as well as the Government response Minister Bruton said:
"We have made significant progress with our plan to deliver jobs recovery through our Action Plan for Jobs, with 2,000 jobs now being created per month in the private sector. However, if we are to achieve the levels of employment growth we need, we must make sure that every sector of the economy is delivering sustainable growth. As today's Forfás report shows, the crash that has occurred in the construction sector has brought it well below its natural, sustainable size and we should be aiming to increase the level of activity in the sector. This is important for creating the jobs we need, but also for delivering the sustainable numbers of family homes and commercial buildings that a healthy economy needs. The measures announced today will help ensure that key actions are delivered so that we can deliver a capable and innovative construction sector and a high quality built environment to support investment, growth, and ultimately the jobs we need".
The Government policy statement builds on the recent progress to improve standards through new building regulations.
The creation of a new statutory register of builders and contractors will improve transparency within the industry, ensure statutory, regulatory and legal compliance, and contribute significantly to the quality of the built environment.
The further crackdown on the shadow economy will drive out more unscrupulous contractors from the industry thereby supporting responsible and compliant companies and the commitment to examine options to address emerging gaps in the commercial property sector will keep Ireland at the forefront of attracting in new foreign direct investment.
In addition a range of Government Departments are now developing new options to help secure important investment in the area such as mechanisms for increased private financing and the greater use of PPPs, examining the use of performance bonds and reviewing public service contracts.
The Government also agreed that the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Jobs will, once every three months, specifically consider the state of the construction sector.