The Ulster Unionist Party’s Economy spokesperson, Alan Chambers MLA, has said that today’s statistics highlighting the higher rate of economic inactivity in Northern Ireland, when compared to the rest of the UK, make sobering reading and raise questions for Sinn Fein and the DUP.
Alan Chambers MLA said:
“Today’s figures showing that the unemployment rate in Northern Ireland has fallen to its lowest level ever of 3.1% in the first quarter of 2018 are good news, but do not tell the whole story.
“We should be concerned at the fact that the level of economic inactivity at 28%, is higher than in the rest of the UK where it is 21%.
“This is the proportion of working-age people who are not working and not seeking or available to work. It includes long-term sick and disabled, people looking after the family or home, and students.
“Northern Ireland’s problem with its stubbornly high level of economic inactivity has persisted in spite of the large sums of money poured into areas of economic deprivation by the DUP and Sinn Fein in the past decade in which they have been in charge of government here.
“The Ulster Unionist Party is in constant contact with employers’ organisations in Northern Ireland and we have repeatedly heard them talk about the massive skills shortage in the local labour market.
“This situation raises serious questions for Sinn Fein and the DUP as to what exactly they were doing in government. Quite simply, the people of Northern Ireland deserve better.”