Dole queue at 13-year high

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More than 100 people joined the dole queue in Derry last month - bringing unemployment in the city to its highest level since August 1998.

Derry’s MP Mark Durkan says the latest unemployment figures “once again highlight the difficult economic challenge we face and the critical need to create new jobs for this city and wider region.”

Stormont statistics released on Wednesday show a total of 6002 people are currently claiming unemployment related benefits in the city - that’s 8.4% of Derry’s working age population.

During September a total of 113 people made new claims for unemployment related benefits. Over the last 12 months, a total of 508 people have joined the dole queue in the city.

Mr Durkan says the new figures “add to the imperative of full implementation of the Regeneration Plan for Derry.”

“However, if we are to have a sustainable economy with sustainable employment then we need more meaningful and reliable commitments from the Executive for the One Plan.

“Even before the Programme for Government will be published we already have evidence that the plan and this city’s agenda are not being factored into government plans.”

He says cuts to public services threaten to make the situation even worse.

Yet, these planned reductions in the public sector are not being matched by investment in jobs for the private sector.

“We must continue to offer our full support to businesses in Derry who are struggling to survive during this very difficult economic climate,” he says.

Derry continues to have the highest rate of unemployment amongst the North’s 26 local councils. Unemployment in Limavady and Strabane currently stands at 7.2%.

Unemployment in Derry is more than double that in Antrim, Ards, Ballymena, Banbridge, Castlereagh, Larne, Magherafelt, Newtownabbey and North Down.