"More needs to be done to arrest unemployment situation"
Conor Murphy said:
“While I agree that there is no quick fix to addressing today’s figures on the continued upward trend in unemployment there are avenues that could be pursued more rigorously. And while the Minister, Arlene Foster seems to take consolation in the fact that the percentage figures are lower than in Britain this is of little comfort to those who find themselves with no prospect of work.
“For instance Banks are still not assisting local enterprise and individual business people quite as enthusiastically has they expected the taxpayer to help them. Small to medium enterprises, despite providing over 90% of jobs in this economy, are finding it extremely difficult to access financial support through the banks. More pressure needs to be put on the financial sector to assist in job creation by reducing the conditions placed on borrowers.
“In terms of enhancing capacity, I believe that there is a need for increased numbers of available apprenticeships and for retraining and upskilling opportunities for those who have been made redundant in order that they can re-enter the workforce when the economy does begin to recover.
“While there may not be any quick fixes to our unemployment concerns, I believe that if we focus on the issues that we can influence we will hasten the recovery. With the right attitude and commitment we can impact on the high levels of unemployment.
“Today’s unemployment figures also highlight the need for bringing forward the creation of a Special Enterprise zone here as promised by David Cameron.
“As unemployment continues to rise it is clear that the Tory/Lib.Dem policy of cuts have hit the local economy here more severely than anywhere else.
“David Cameron promised to deliver proposals on rebalancing our economy in October of last year, it still hasn’t materialised.
“It is abundantly clear that the British government focus is on rebalancing Britain’s economy with the North of Ireland being only peripheral to the thinking of the British Treasury.
“It is clear that British government economic policy is not providing the impetus required to kick-start our recovery. All parties here need to unite in demanding that David Cameron deliver on his promises and bring forward his proposals for rebalancing our economy now – without further delay so that we can judge just how seriously the British government takes the needs of this part of Ireland.”