€500 Million No Deal Brexit Jobs Fund Needed
As the EU Commission prepares for a no deal Brexit, Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin TD called on Fine Gael to allocate €500 million to a jobs fund if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal in April, and to explain in detail how the Government will support jobs and businesses in the event of a crisis.
Deputy Howlin said:
“If the withdrawal agreement is rejected in Westminster this week, a no deal Brexit becomes highly likely. In that scenario it is essential that the Government commits to all possible measures to save and sustain jobs in sectors that we know are highly reliant on trade with the UK.
“The Minister for Finance outlined this morning that a no deal Brexit could cost 50,000 future jobs, but our immediate concern should be the livelihoods of those who will be affected if their principal export market is the UK.
“Labour believes that €500 million should be immediately allocated to a Brexit Jobs Fund to support businesses to retain jobs during the likely shock of sudden barriers to trade with the UK, or indeed a sudden collapse of Sterling. We need a fund to subsidise jobs during the likely crisis period, as we know it is much easier to save jobs and existing businesses than to create new ones.
“The EU has indicated that money will be available to support Ireland’s vulnerable industries but the Government should outline in full how much money will be available, and on what terms.
“We understand that €200 million may be available in loans to business, but at what rate, and on what conditions? For the good of the economy, especially for rural industries, we may need to simply subsidise some sectors rather than saddle them with debt as a time when they will be seeking new markets for their goods.
“It is not good enough for the Government to wait and see if Brexit is postponed, or to wait to see what businesses and jobs will be worst affected by Brexit. We know what sectors of the economy are most exposed to trade with the UK or to a drop in the value of Sterling. It is incredible that the Government remain so vague on the detail about what contingency plans are in place to preserve jobs and stabilise businesses from Day 1, if Brexit happens on 13th April.
“We also need clarity on the amount and nature of European supports that we can depend on.”