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Anger at British response to unemployment

14 July, 2004

Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has criticised British direct rule economy Minister Barry Gardiner after he attempted to interpret the latest officially produced unemployment figures.

Ms Gildernew said:

"What Barry Gardiner fails to say is that these are figures that have been doctored for the past 20 years. They I no way reflect the true economic and personal cost of unemployment. In many areas we have generational long-term unemployment. We have an unacceptable level of people who are marginalised. Describing people as economically inactive just about says it all.

"If we look at the totals for people who are classified as economically inactive, at the 'official' unemployment figures and also at the levels of long-term unemployment and long-term illness and incapacity the picture is far from rosy.

"If we are going to tackle the social and economic problems created by the patterns of economic activity throughout the Six Counties then we need to be honest about what is happening. Using 'official figures' to disguise the true extent of the problem will not help us to put in place the long-term solutions that many of these long standing problems require." ENDS

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