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Economic Growth figures cannot disguise structural weakness

30 June, 2005


Sinn Féin Economic Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA commenting on the publication of the Economic Bulletin today has said that economic growth figures cannot disguise structural weakness in the economy with a high dependency on low wage part time employment, low levels of wealth creation and particular problems West of the Bann.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"It is time that we got real about what is happening with the economy in the Six Counties. There is a high dependency on low wage part time employment, low levels of wealth creation and particular problems West of the Bann.

"Half a million people are economically inactive and 220,000 of those are either suffering from long term illness or on incapacity benefit.

"The bottom line is that 54% of all jobs growth in the last 5 years is part time and that this is predominantly within the low paid service sector.

"The reality is that 38% of children live in low-income households and nearly 10% do not have enough clothing or food. These top line figures are based on low pay, a widening gap between the rich and poor, and the areas that are most affected are those that suffered disproportionately as a result the conflict and the negative impact of border.

"The report also highlights the low proportion of entrepreneurs here, particularly in comparison with the rest of Ireland. Yet at the same time this part of the Invest NI budget has been savagely cut by 21%." ENDS

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