More than 135,000 jobs have been created in the last three years, and over 1,000 new jobs are now coming on stream every week. That’s reduced unemployment to 8.8% – down from a crisis peak of over 15% – and we are on course to achieve full employment.

Most of the new jobs that have been created are high-quality full-time positions. I’m personally delighted to see the return of apprenticeships, and the Government’s Skills Strategy – published in January – will pave the way for a further 50,000 apprenticeship and traineeship places.

This Government is also making work pay with fairer taxation and rising salaries, including for public servants. We’ve introduced an independent Low Pay Commission, established the Living Wage Forum, and increased the minimum wage by 20% after it was slashed by the previous Fianna Fáil/Green administration.

Over 700,000 lower earners have been exempted from the USC, which has been reduced on all earnings up to €70,000 a year.

The creation of decent jobs, which is driving our economic recovery, must remain our first priority. And Labour in Government will continue to fight for fairness at work and tax reforms that put more money in the pockets of people on low and middle incomes.


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