West Belfast MLA, Rosie McCorley has accused DETI Minister Arlene Foster of being poorly informed and not fully over her Ministerial brief following her response to a question from the Sinn Féin representative.
Ms McCorley said:
“This week NISRA published a report which was an attempt to provide useful data on well-being in the North. This report contains key gaps which NISRA should be supported in addressing.
“I asked the Minister in the Assembly this week during question time to "outline how she will address NISRA's new well-being data in future economic strategies?”
“Despite the Minister claiming that this important data will clearly inform her economic strategies her response shows that she has not read the economic sections of the report. The economic sections cite British data while Northern data is largely missing. In fact in a quarter of indicators in the report data for the north is not available. This sends a worrying message to the public regarding their economic well-being.
“These important areas for which no economic data for the north is available includes: Net income per head; Public Sector Debt as a proportion of GDP; Inflation rates; Median wealth per household;
“Information on the following areas is also absent: Access to the natural environment; Household Access to Good Transport; Human Capital; Satisfaction with Family Life; Trust in Government; Energy Consumed from Renewable Sources etc.
“Yet when I asked the Minister for her views – her response was; ‘The information is available and is brought forward by DFP in relation to the economy. The statistics are available’.
“But it is obvious from the report that the statistics are not available. The economy section is particularly bare, and it is apparent that the Minister has not read the report. Nor was she aware of the level of input or otherwise from the Department of Finance and Personnel.
“What kind of message does this send to the people of the north regarding interest in their well-being when statistics on a quarter of the indicators used to measure that well-being are not available and the Minister does not even notice?
“This report is another example of the complete lack of relevant, useful and accurate up to date information available on the north and we would ask Arlene Foster’s DUP colleague, Minister for Finance, Simon Hamilton to provide the necessary information to enable NISRA to fill in the gaps.”