Only 5% of civil service jobs are in Derry

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood
SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood

Stormont has been urged to resurrect plans to decentralise civil service jobs after it was confirmed that less than 5% of all posts are based in Derry.

Stormont has been urged to resurrect plans that would decentralise civil service jobs after it was confirmed less than 5% of all posts are based in Derry.

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood says figures he has obtained through a series of ministerial questions at Stormont show that only 4.85% of the north’s 15,000 plus civil service jobs are based in Derry.

Two of Stormont’s 12 departments - the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment - do not currently have a single civil servant based in the city.

Figures for the Department of Social Development are not available.

In contrast, more than 60% of all civil service posts are based in the greater Belfast area.

“This is a statistical pattern to which we are now well used,” Mr Eastwood says.

“Decentralisation is in essence about job-sharing, distributing the economic capacity of the state in a fair manner. This is blatantly not the case at present.

“This agenda is not whinging. It is not unrealistic or unachievable. Its is primarily about fairness.”

Mr Eastwood says Stormont must look closely at the distribution of public sector jobs.

“Devolved government here in the North provides thousands of jobs directly through the civil service.

“The Bain report published in 2008, around the same period that Stormont’s current leadership came to power, proposed that civil service jobs should be relocated ‘to improve regional economic balance’.

“That report has been effectively shelved, confirmed to me personally by the Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson, in the Assembly chamber only last week.

“The agenda of decentralisation badly needs resurrected,” he says.

The SDLP MLA says that would go somewhere to improving the jobless situation in Derry.

The figures obtained by Mr Eastwood show a total of 752 civil service jobs are based in the city, compared to 7942 in Belfast.

The official figures further reveal the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (184) and the Department of Finance and personnel (166) both employ over 150 civil servants in Derry while the Department of Education (113) and the Department of Employment and Learning (120) also employ in excess of 100 civil servants in the city.