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Snippet Contents:

The quality of the Irish education system, our students, research and graduates has been a cornerstone of our economic success. It attracts investment, nurtures local business and fosters innovation but we cannot live on past glories and achievements, so I am increasing the national training fund, NTF, levy in 2018 from 0.7% to 0.8% to provide a further €47.5 million of additional investment in the higher and further education sectors next year. To provide clarity, I am also announcing that the levy will rise to 0.9% in 2019 and to 1.0% in 2020. The measures stem from the independent review of the NTF announced by the Minister for Education and Skills and the Minister of State for higher education in July. They will ensure that employers have a central role in determining priorities for this crucial sector in 2018 and beyond. Therefore, the final two increases will be subject to the implementation of necessary reforms.
Continued State investment in reforming the higher and further education sectors in the years to come will help to further develop our human capital and further safeguard our economic growth in this changing world but the Exchequer is also playing its role and this year, on foot of the mid-term capital review, it is investing an additional €310 million out to 2021 to address the infrastructure needs of higher and further education. Separately, the Ministers for Education will also announce in the coming weeks details of an additional €200 million public private partnership, PPP, investment in the sector to support regional development. Building on the significant funding in higher education provided last year, this increased investment announced today will help improve our competitive advantage, provide for our ongoing economic success, give opportunities to all, and mitigate the risks and uncertainty of Brexit.
Tackling Crime
Upon coming into office, this Government also signalled increased investment in An Garda Síochána, and today I will provide for resources to allow for the recruitment of an additional 800 gardaí during 2018.