SDLP Jobs and the Economy Spokesperson Sinéad McLaughlin has challenged the persistent failures of the Department for the Economy in addressing skills and investment which has led to low productivity in Northern Ireland.
It follows a new report from researchers at Queen’s University which found Northern Ireland has a productivity gap of 17% below the UK average. Derry City and Strabane has the largest productivity gap at 23% below the UK level.
The Foyle MLA said:
“Low productivity may sound like economic jargon to many people, but it translates into the wages that people in Derry and across the North are able to take home at the end of the month, the living standards that we all experience and the money we are able to spend on public services like our health service.
“The impact of low productivity in our economy has been a persistent problem across decades in Northern Ireland, thanks to policy failures at the heart of the Executive. This report points clearly to the consequences of those failures, including the low level of skills in the North and the lack of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Cities like Derry have been particularly hard-hit by the inability of our government to get to grips with these challenges and it’s long past time that this was addressed.
“The SDLP has been clear that we need to invest properly in further and higher education and fund a proper Skills Strategy. We also need to leverage the dual market access offered to us by the Protocol to attract further FDI, especially in our growth sectors.
“This is a complex problem and all our constituents deserve elected representatives who are willing to roll up their sleeves to tackle these challenges and work together to unlock our economic potential. Practically nothing can be done to influence or address this pressing challenge without politicians doing their jobs at Stormont, putting in place the investment that will upskill our people and make it easier for businesses to create jobs and opportunities."