Still no job creation strategy from Government as unemployment rate increases to 7.8% - Morgan
Speaking today as the latest live register figures showed that a further 16,900 people have signed on in the past month bringing the unemployment rate to 7.8% Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson said the Government is continuing to sleep walk through an economic crisis.
Deputy Morgan said, "Nearly two months on from Budget 2009 and we are still awaiting a job creation strategy from the Government.
"Another 16, 900 have signed on to the live register in the past month to bring the total number of those signing on to 277,200 for November 2008. This is an increase of 106,800 in the past year bringing the standardised unemployment rate to 7.8%. We have seen a 57% increase in Redundancies over the last 12 months.
"The Government is continuing to sleep walk through an economic crisis. Its handling of the economic has been clueless. This was highlighted spectacularly yesterday when exchequer figures showed that the Government's projected public finance figures were short by a billion euros.
"Manufacturing exports have decreased sharply and the Government have failed to introduce a coherent plan to stem the tide. Construction has come to a stand still and the Government has done nothing to absorb the thousands of workers facing unemployment in that sector. Sinn Féin is calling for the frontloading of projects in social housing, schools, hospitals and public transport to boost the construction industry.
"The retail sector has been damaged by the Government's ridiculous increase in VAT which has driven more shoppers to the north. This move has also shown just how clueless the Government has been on the economy. Sinn Féin has been advocating a 2% cut in VAT to stimulate consumer spending. The Government needs to give serious consideration to this proposal. There must also be co-operation north and south as we are seeing contradicting policies on VAT are affecting the retail sector particularly in the border counties.
"The Government is failing take any initiative to ensure that credit for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) is forthcoming from the banks. They have also done nothing to tackle the problem of the inordinate length of time that small businesses are being made to wait to receive payments for work and goods delivered. This must be a priority for the Government in the time ahead." ENDS