Northern Ireland average living standards now the lowest of any UK region
Need for NI Executive to re-think economic policy and focus on expanding manufacturing base
April 13: Unite’s Regional Secretary, Jimmy Kelly, indicated that the latest research provided by Tom Healy of the Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI) confirmed the need for urgent action from the NI Executive parties.
“The fact that Northern Ireland’s workforce has suffered the greatest decline in household incomes will come as no surprise to anyone in the trade union movement. The period since 2007 has seen a marked shift within the economy and labour market with many workers being forced into low-wage, temporary or casual employment. In addition, we are in danger of losing an entire generation to emigration due to the lack of employment opportunities.
“Our political leaders continue to ignore this reality and congratulate themselves on marginal improvements in the unemployment rate – a statistic that fails to capture what is happening. As indicated by Tom Healy, Northern Ireland’s total employment remains two per cent lower than it was in 2007 and the region is now the very bottom of the pile when it comes to living standards.
“Unite is in full agreement with NERI economists who have raised concerns as to the likely adverse impact of the Executive parties’ proposals to cut corporation taxes at the expense of even deeper cuts to public services.
“Cuts to further and higher education, our public transport infrastructure and environmental protection agencies will only undermine Northern Ireland’s transition to a modern, balanced economy.
“Instead of destroying public services to attain global tax haven status we need to see investment in our roads, rail and energy infrastructure, in improving the educational base of our workforce and a public investment strategy focussed on growing our manufacturing base. Tied to such a programme of public investment, a move to higher wages and social investment would stimulate wider economic consumption leading to wage-led growth throughout the economy”, Mr Kelly concluded.