"Latest increase in unemployment figures worrying" Conor Murphy MP, MLA
Describing the latest increase in unemployment figures released today as worrying, Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Conor Murphy MP, MLA (Newry/Armagh) said that more needs be done to reverse the trend.
Conor Murphy said:
“While there is no quick fix to the issue of unemployment there are measures that could be pursued more rigorously. While the official figures show a further increase of 500 unemployed I believe that the real increase is much higher. For instance these figures do not take account of those who chose to emigrate rather than sign on the dole.
"Instead of extolling the fact that numbers here may be less percentage wise than those in Britain or the South, Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster needs to focus on means of reversing the upward spiral in unemployment figures.
“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 their potential for job creation are finding it extremely difficult to access financial support. Local entrepeneurs are being frustrated in their efforts to create employment because they can't access financing and the focus is firmly fixed on Foreign Direct Investment rather than encouraging and expanding local enterprise. More pressure needs to be put on the financial sector to assist in job creation by relaxing the suffocating conditions placed on borrowers.
"Government departments such as DETI and Employment & Learning need to direct resources at assisting SME's to expand both locally and into export markets as well as equiping those who find themselves unemployed to acquire new skills and assistance to get back into the workforce. All Ministers should be instructing their Departments to look at their procurement practices in detail to see if there are measures that could be taken that would ensure that Public Contracts maximise opportunities for local employment.
"I believe that the official unemployment figures mask the fact that we are losing our best trained craftspeople and professionals to other economies. We need to prepare now for a recovery by ensuring that those who chose to stay have the opportunity of apprenticeships, retraining and up-skilling.
“It is clear thus far, that British government economic policy is not providing the impetus required to kick-start our recovery. British government economic policy is designed to grow the economy of the island of Britain - we, if taken into consideration at all are only peripheral to any policy development. We need the economic levers to design and develop our own economy in collaboration with the rest of the island. We need the transfer of maximum economic powers from London to the Assembly so that we can manage our own economic destiny.
“In the meantime there should be better collaboration between the Executive and Dublin Ministers on joint procurement and delivery of goods and services to eliminate duplication and waste with the savings invested in an all-Ireland jobs creation strategy.” CRÍOCH