Make job creation ‘a priority’

Photo Lorcan Doherty
Photo Lorcan Doherty

Sinn Fein and the DUP must make job creation in the north west a priority, a Derry MLA has said.

Colum Eastwood said urgent action is needed from Stormont’s two main parties after the latest unemployment figures again showed Derry and Strabane remain the north’s dole hotspots.

“We (Derry) still have the highest claimant count, and that number is rising. In fact, Derry was the only area to witness an increase in unemployment since the last statistics were published.

“We need intervention and we need it now. We need urgent action from Stormont’s leadership to address this unemployment crisis. Job creation in the North West must be seen as a priority to the Sinn Féin and DUP decision makers,” the SDLP MLA said.

The latest figures show unemployment rose by 0.3% in Derry last month bringing the jobless figure in the city to almost 6,100.

The Department of Trade, Enterprise and Investment statistics show that in Foyle a total of 6,084 people are claiming unemployment related benefits - higher than any of the 18 Westminster Parliamentary constituencies in the North.

Nine per cent of the city’s working age population were signing on in September. In Strabane that figures stands at 8.1%

Across the North a total of 61,986 people are currently claiming unemployment related benefits - a fall of 3.5% over the last year.

Mr Eastwwod said the figures show a degree of recovery.

“Unfortunately the figures for Derry are less encouraging,” he said.

The SDLP MLA said the city needs “more projects like C-TRIC that will create high quality jobs in our city.”