Plans for a €44m investment in areas such as ICT, biotechnology and energy will play a key role in the Government’s forthcoming jobs initiative package, according to Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

The Sunday Business Post reports on a 31-page submission from the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Richard Bruton, which sets out the main details of the package, which it expects to be published on May 10. The initiative will focus on four key pillars:

  • Access to finance
  • Reducing the cost of doing business
  • Skills, innovation, research and development
  • Infrastructure

Senior sources told the newspaper Bruton is proposing to establish applied technology research centres in the areas of cloud computing, manufacturing research and energy efficiency. He also wants to increase the number of high-potential start-ups to 355 by 2014.

The report also contains measures already flagged, including the reduction in employee PRSI for low earners and a cut in the lower rate of VAT in industries deemed to be labour –intensive.

“Some kind of loan guarantee scheme for SME lending is also anticipated,” the newspaper says. “The Government will also try to boost business cashflow by extending prompt payments rules which currently apply to the Government to local authorities and state agencies.”

It also says the Government is considering changes to the tax incentives for research and development but doesn’t specify what these might be.

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