Unemployment Derry’s number one issue - Eastwood

SDLP MLA for Foyle, Colum Eastwood.
SDLP MLA for Foyle, Colum Eastwood.

Derry is being treated as the poor relation in terms of investment, Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood has warned.

The SDLP representative added that the latest unemployment figures demonstrate how lack of jobs is now the single biggest issue facing the city.

Mr Eastwood was speaking after it emerged that the number of people claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA) in Derry in January increased by 104 from the previous month.

The figures were released by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI) on Wednesday.

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood said: “The statistics have shown time and time again that Derry is not experiencing anywhere near the decrease in job seekers allowance claimants seen elsewhere in the North.

“Our city is also not receiving its fair share of assistance in tackling its most crippling problem. Unemployment is Derry’s number one issue. This has been the case for decades and unless the Executive delivers on its promises to Derry it will be our key problem for decades to come.”

Mr Eastwood added: “It is obvious that Invest NI must do much more to sell Derry to investors. However, our city will not reach its full potential unless we tackle our infrastructure and skills deficit. The SDLP consistently argues for investment in our roads, especially the A6 and A5, rail provision and the expansion of our university.”

The most recent unemployment figures continue to show that Derry is still the council area with the highest rate of unemployment in the North with 7.9 per cent of men and women of working age out of work.

Including Derry, three out of the top four council areas with the highest rate of unemployment are in the North West. Derry leads the way with 7.9 per cent, Strabane is second with 6.8 per cent whilst Limavady is fourth worst off with 5.3 per cent of its working population out of work.