Alan Kelly T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government and Minister of State Paudie Coffey today welcomed the announcement on the Action Plan for Jobs 2015.
“The main priority for this Government is job creation. We need to get people back to work and we need to build homes to address the supply issues that exist. Increasing supply will also address rising house prices and building homes creates jobs. It is a no brainer and we must ensure continued progress in reducing unemployment and creating sustainable jobs,” said Minister Kelly.
The Government’s ‘Construction 2020 – a Strategy for a Renewed Construction Sector’ – provides the basis for rebuilding a sustainable construction sector that has the capacity to build the houses and infrastructure we need as a society, and making its full contribution to economic recovery.
Minister Paudie Coffey added, “As the line Minister with Special Responsibility for the Co-ordination of Construction of 2020 I am pleased we have made good progress to date and I will ensure this momentum is maintained and will be a priority for us in 2015.
“The overriding aim of Construction 2020 is to provide homes for our people by tripling housing output by 2020 and, in the process, add 60,000 jobs to the construction sector over the same period.
“It is also an essential part of the Government’s effort to return the economy to full employment in 2018. We have said that we are determined to help all those on the Live Register find meaningful and rewarding work, including the many construction workers who lost their jobs with the sector’s collapse
“Construction 2020 contains a detailed programme of work, including 75 time-bound actions, across a range of issues including: housing; the planning process; availability of financing; monitoring and regulating the sector; and ensuring a highly skilled workforce and opportunities for construction jobseekers and we are beginning to see the positive outcomes of this strategy.” Minister Coffey concluded.
A number of significant milestones have been achieved, and we are seeing welcome and positive signs of recovery in the sector.
The CSO’s most recent Quarterly National Household Survey shows that there were 7,000 more people working in construction in the third quarter of 2014 than a year previously (a growth rate of 6.7 per cent); and GDP produced by the building and construction sector grew by 7.3 per cent.
On an annual basis, the volume of output in building and construction increased by 10.1 per cent in Q3 2014. This reflects an annual increase of 19.1 per cent in residential building, a 13.4 per cent rise in civil engineering and a 2.5per cent increase in non-residential building work.
One of the key commitments in Construction 2020 was the publication of a new Social Housing Strategy setting out a comprehensive approach to the delivery of social housing to 2020. At the end of November Ministers Kelly & Coffey published the promised strategy.
“This six-year Social Housing Strategy sets out to fully meet this Government’s ambitious goals. In committing to provide 35,000 new social housing units at a cost of €3.8 bn, it makes a fresh start for social housing in Ireland The Strategy restores the State to a central role in the provision of social housing through a resumption of direct building on a significant scale by local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies. €3.8 billion invested over 6 years will be a major fillip for job creation and it is estimated that some 29,000 jobs will be created and sustained over this period, added Minister Kelly.
“We are on track to exceed our target of 100,000 additional jobs by 2016 – we have already achieved 80,000. The goal for this year is to provide 40,000 more new jobs. We are setting a goal to bring employment to 2.1 million by 2018 – 2 years earlier than our original target – effectively restoring all jobs lost during the economic crisis,” concluded Minister Kelly.