The latest official job statistics published in Northern Ireland’s Labour Market Report paint a grim picture in Derry and Strabane, says SDLP Foyle MLA Sinéad McLaughlin, who is the party’s economy spokesperson and deputy chair of Stormont’s economy committee.
The figures show the claimant count in Derry and Strabane is 7.1% of working age adults, the highest rate of anywhere in Northern Ireland. The next highest rate is Belfast at 6.4% and the Northern Ireland average is 5.1%. The lowest rate is 3.7% in Lisburn and Castlereagh.
McLaughlin said: “These latest official statistics underline the dire employment situation in Derry and Strabane. Yet the minister and her department refused yet again only last week to specify that addressing regional inequality should be a priority for her department. Support measures must be specifically targeted at Derry and Strabane.
“The city and the North West have been neglected for decades. It is essential that there is a greater focus on job location in Derry and Strabane, supported by targets and allocations of financial assistance geared to achieving this. I also want to see Invest NI and government officials making the case strongly and widely for the benefits of investing in Derry and Strabane, with its high quality of life, low cost of living, friendly population and beautiful location.”