The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, today (Thursday) announced that his Department has secured an increase in its capital budget, from €508million to its highest ever level of €514million in 2012, reflecting the priority accorded to job-creation by this Government.
The 5 year capital programme announced today will allow:
· A 4% increase in the Enterprise Ireland capital budget in 2012
· A 10% increase in the number of high potential start-up Irish companies supported in 2012
· A 20% increase in the number of Innovation Partnerships
· €18million spend on Innovation Fund Ireland in 2012 to further improve the Irish venture capital industry
· New technology centres in Cloud, E-learning and Financial Services to be commenced in 2012
· Delivery of the Partial Loan Guarantee Scheme
· Full protection of the IDA capital budget over the period of the programme, to enable delivery of the “Horizon 2020” strategy
· Full support in 2012 for the SFI research community of over 3,000 researchers, including research teams working with over 500 industry partners
· Maintenance of the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions
· Doubling the number of Technology Innovation Development Awards to 200 in 2012
· Full maintenance of the County Enterprise Boards’ budget
The Minister also announced that he has secured agreement on key changes to the way capital budgets are managed in his Department, in line with reform policies he has developed over recent years.
Making the announcement today, the Minister said:
“This Government is determined that, alongside the very painful budgetary decisions we have to make, we must implement our plan for economic recovery and job creation. That is why, at a time of declining resources, the Enterprise capital budget is not only being maintained but is receiving a small increase in 2012 to its highest level ever. In the context of total capital cuts of €750million in 2012, this represents a major statement of government priorities. This will mean that my Department and its agencies will be able to continue current levels of spending on job-creation, as well as increasing the scope of some crucial programmes and implementing some new measures.
“As I have said before, if we are to turn this economy around and get people back to work in the numbers we need, we must not only aim to attract world-leading companies to Ireland but we must also seek to grow world-leading companies in Ireland. Only an indigenous engine of growth will drive the economy to recovery. That is why the bulk of the extra resources will be spent on supporting high potential Irish companies start up, expand, and grow to a size where they can support large numbers of jobs.
“Changes to the way capital budgets will be managed in my Department in future will mean that, with proper management, there will be substantially more funding to spend than the Exchequer allocation. I am satisfied that, as a result of these changes, my Department’s capital budget in 2013 can remain at or within 5% of its 2012 levels.
· There will be greater autonomy to carry over unspent capital allocations from one year to the next, as part of the battle against the crazy end-of-year “spend it or lose it” practices that we have seen in the past;
· There will be greater freedom to reinvest the proceeds of the Department’s own resources – for example, IDA’s income from rents on properties, Enterprise Ireland’s proceeds from sales of stakes in companies – creating an increased incentive for managers to invest wisely in funds, companies and research projects;
· Multi-annual budgeting will play a larger role in my Department’s planning, reflecting international best practice and common sense.
“The Government has to make some very tough decisions in this Budget about where to allocate reduced resources. However we are determined that alongside austerity we must bring about economic recovery and jobs. That is why we are saying unashamedly that job-creation is at the very top of the government’s agenda, and why we are prioritising the Enterprise capital budget at this very difficult time. I firmly believe that these are grounds for believing that, if we continue with our plan, we will see the beginnings of the recovery in economic growth and job-creation we so badly need.