NI Executive must heed NERI warning: Northern Ireland moving in wrong economic direction

JimmyThink-tank’s analysis highlights trend in declining wages and mounting job insecurity in Northern Ireland

Union urges NI Executive to develop proactive Industrial Strategy to escape sixth year of recession

December 16th: Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly today (Tuesday 16 December) said the latest NERI economic findings were further evidence of Northern Ireland’s further descent to becoming a low-wage economy, and he repeated his union’s call for the NI Executive to develop and implement an Industrial Policy aimed at securing economic growth.

“The recent strong growth trends enjoyed by the UK have not been experienced in Northern Ireland. In real economic terms, after inflation, we are in the sixth year of economic depression – a worrying situation, quite unparalleled in Western Europe.

“Economic demand has been hit by a dramatic drop in private sector investment and falling household consumption as a result of a reduction in wages; in this context, planned austerity budgets will only further extend the economic recession.

“While there are some signs of meagre growth in employment and economic output, there is now mounting evidence that Northern Ireland is moving in the wrong direction in terms of productivity, investment and wages.

“NERI’s analysis identifies that real wages have fallen by 13% since 2009. Plummeting wages reflect a swing to precarious employment: part-time, temporary and low-wage.

“Attempting to stimulate investment through a race-to-the-bottom on corporation tax haven status – at the cost of even sharper reductions in public sector investment and consumption – makes no sense in this context.

“Instead of seeking to base our economic recovery on magic bullet solutions and economic ‘shock therapy’, UNITE is calling for a proactive industrial policy based on a strategic hands-on approach to building those sectors where NI has competitive advantage, targeted infrastructural investment and growing our workforce skills base by expanding, not contracting, the numbers of further and higher education places”, Mr Kelly concluded.

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