SDLP Economy spokesperson Sinead Bradley has commented following the release of the latest employment statistics.
She said: “The employment statistics published yesterday demonstrate why we must deliver immediately on a strategy that will tackle the continued regional inequality many people here struggle with.
“Derry City and Strabane have far greater numbers of people out of work than anywhere else in the North, Scotland, England or Wales, with 5.9% claiming out of work benefits. To put it in some context, there are 105 local authorities in the UK with fewer than 1% of their population claiming JSA or work-seeking Universal Credit.
“On a macro-level, we also find that Northern Ireland is under-performing compared to England, Scotland and Wales. We have more people out of work and a higher level of economic inactivity.
“We also have more people about to be made redundant from Bombardier amidst wider ongoing business uncertainty and the manufacturing sector’s pleas for an industry strategy falling on deaf ears in the Executive. We must also remember that average salaries here are at the bottom of the ladder.
“The SDLP has long been fighting the economic repartition that this Executive presides over. Our party leader Colum Eastwood is working on a Private Member’s Bill that will introduce statutory requirement to look at the regional economic imbalance when considering inward investment.
“Alongside this duty, we are calling for the immediate development of regional and sub-regional economic strategies which would align on an island-wide basis and the sectors with the largest economic potential such as agri-foods, manufacturing, tourism, life sciences.”