Concern as Derry remains north’s bankruptcy blackspot

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More people in Derry have been declared bankrupt over the last nine months than in any other part of the north.

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood said the latest bankruptcy figures - coupled with the city’s status as the north’s child poverty and unemployment blackspots - reflect the city’s “economic crisis.”

“Derry has for far too long been the forgotten city in terms of inward investment, support for the growth of indigenous companies and investment in infrastructure and in education.

“We have the north’s highest level of unemployment, the highest levels of child poverty and the highest levels of bankruptcy. These are league tables which amount to nothing short of an economic crisis in this city and are the product of decades of economic neglect,” he said.

The figures, revealed in response to an Assembly question asked by the Derry MLA, detail that a total of 86 people had been declared bankrupt in the Foyle constituency between April 2013 and January of this year.

“These figures are a stark reminder that the illusion of progress propagated by the Stormont leadership has nothing to do with the North’s second city,” Mr Eastwood said.

“There is a strong will within the city to drive the local economy forward but the support from the Sinn Fein/DUP- led Executive is sadly lacking.”

Last year the ‘Journal’ reported that Derry has had the highest bankruptcy rate in the north in five of the last seven years.

New figures released this week also revealed a total of 6053 - that’s 8.5% of the city’s working age population - were claiming unemployment related benefits in the first month of 2014.

Mr Eastwood said “it is time for the economic discrimination of Derry to end.”

“The shouting of local business leaders and campaigners over issues such as the A5 and A6 projects, the expansion of Magee, the fast-tracking of the regeneration of Ebrington and Fort George and the creation of sub-regional inward investment targets are are being ignored by the Executive’s leaders,” he said.