1400 jobs lost to Derry

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood
SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood

Derry has lost almost 1500 manufacturing jobs in the five years since the recession began, Stormont figures reveal.

The figures, obtained through an Assembly question by SDLP MLA Colum Eastwwod show a total of 1397 manufacturing jobs have gone from the city since 2007. Mr Eastwood (pictured) says urgent action is needed to stop the haemorrhaging of manufacturing jobs in Derry.

“It is truly shocking that, since 2007, almost 30% of this manufacturing base has been lost. In human terms, 1,400 people have lost their jobs and countless families have suffered as a result,” the former Derry Mayor told the ‘Journal.’

“These jobs were occupied by skilled people. These are precisely the people we so desperately need to grow and expand our regional enterprises.”

Mr Eastwood says many will see these figures as a case of ‘the same old story’.

He says there is an onus on Stormont - and on Deputy First minister Martin McGuinness - to address Derry’s “economic erosion.”

“Our resident deputy First Minister can boast all he wants about the millions which the Executive has poured into this city. In truth though, the statistics and local wisdom tell him the uncomfortable truth that, under his watch, Derry’s employment crisis has gone from bad to worse.

“If this pattern of economic erosion is to be reversed, the policy of Invest NI and of Stormont’s economic departments need to be radically rebalanced in order to promote regional economic equality.”

The Stormont figures show that in 2007 a total of 142 manufacturing firms employed 4699 people in the Foyle constituency. By 2011, the total number of people employed had fallen to 3302, despite the number of firms increasing to 155.

Meanwhile the latest dole figures released on Wednesday show that Derry remains the north’s jobs blackspot with 8.6% of the working age population claiming unemployment related benefits. A total of 6126 are currently out of work in the city.