Sinn Fein vice-Chair of the Enterprise Committee, Phil Flanagan has said that the findings by the Centre for Economic Policy that wages in the North of Ireland lag far behind those in Britain is unacceptable.
Phil Flanagan said:
“Sinn Féin has consistently pointed out the discrepancies in the level of disposable income here in comparison to that in Britain or the South of Ireland.
“Local families are struggling with an average disposable income of just £80 per week as opposed to £231 per household in London.
“Successive British governments have overseen the most unequal economy in Europe and families in the North of Ireland are consistently bearing the brunt of these economic policies designed for the island of Britain.
“Without control of the necessary economic levers to address our unique situation the Assembly is hamstrung in its attempts to address the situation.
“While local disposable income has increased by approximately £4 per week in the last year the proposed welfare cuts would not only wipe out this meagre increase but plunge people even further into abject poverty.
“This is why Sinn Féin will continue to oppose the introduction of welfare cuts which are part of the right wing Tory/DUP austerity agenda.
“We will do our utmost to protect the vulnerable and disadvantaged against exploitation, introduce a living wage and reduce fuel and energy costs.”