EDITORIAL: Uncertain times ahead

With constant bombardment of news on our ever-shrinking economy there is no doubt that these are worrying times for many in the north west.

Even in the so-called boom times, Derry and the wider north west region lagged behind other parts as local unemployment figures and the numbers of those on benefits remained high.

Now, in the grip of a deepening recession, the situation is even worse. Yesterday’s news that more jobs will be lost locally with the closure of a steel plant at Maydown comes not just as a blow to local workers and their families dependant on a wage - but is also highlights the collapse and near disappearance of what were once traditional industries in the city.

With the implementation of the British government’s controversial Welfare Reform plans just around the corner, the city is facing into a bleak and uncertain economic future, the full extent of which may not become known until next year, when the spotlight will hopefully be in the midst of the City of Culture celebrations.

To combat this depressing scenario, a new and robust approach to job creation is needed. There is no shortage of innovative thinking in Derry but this in itself is not enough. It must be matched by a willingness by those tasked to address the regional disparities in employment across the north to market the city and the wider north west more aggressively.

Until such times, the employment prospects for those losing their jobs, not to mention young people hoping to enter the workforce, will remain uncertain.