23,295 businesses ceased trading in four years - Minister must act says Flanagan
Sinn Féin Vice-Chair of the DETI Committee, Phil Flanagan MLA has said that he was "astounded" at the figures on business closures supplied in response to a question that he posed to the Department of Finance and Personnel.
Phil Flanagan said: “I was absolutely astounded at the information that I received when I requested figures from Department of Finance and Personnel on the number of businesses that have ceased trading in the last five years.
“The figures produced show that from 2007 to 2011 which is the most recent period for which data is available 23,295 businesses ceased trading in the north of Ireland.
“By anyone’s calculation, this is a massive blow to local employment and loss to the economy of the north.
“It is well and good for the Minister for Trade and Investment to regularly issue headline grabbing statements about the numbers of jobs ‘promoted’ or claiming good news when there is a minimal fall in unemployment figures. What the Minister doesn’t tell us, is exactly how many of these ‘promoted’ jobs actually materialise or how much of the decrease in unemployment figures is down to emigration. In the same four years that these businesses closed 92,904 people left the north through emigration. The rate of emigration is appalling and higher than at any point during the conflict.
“When is the Minister and her Party going to realise that their ideological adherence to British Tory austerity measures is damaging to the local economy and inhibiting recovery. Here, in addition to 23,295 business closures are 92,904 more reasons why the Executive requires access to the necessary fiscal tools to enable us to devise our own solution to our own specific economic conditions.
“The Assembly needs access to the full suite of fiscal powers to stimulate economic recovery, enable it to assist indigenous business, stem emigration and maximise the potential of the island wide economy.
“The slash and burn economic policies of Whitehall do not take account of the particular economic circumstances pertaining in the North of Ireland and accompanied by what can only be described as economic guesswork by DFP and DETI will not stop emigration, stimulate economic growth or prevent continued business closures in the north.”