£320m Belfast development welcome, but “real jobs” required – Ekin

Last year’s Belfast Lord Mayor, Tom Ekin, has said the jobs created at a £320m retail development at Victoria Square are welcome, but the focus must now move on to “real jobs” creating genuine wealth.

The Alliance Councillor stated: “Once again we see a concentration of ‘job creation’ on the retail sector – 1,000 at Holywood Exchange, 3,000 at Victoria Square. All jobs are welcome, but these are low-value jobs many of which will go to migrant labour. While immigration is indicative of the fact our society and our economy are going the right way, we cannot rely on the retail sector alone to get us out of our economic mess.

“Healthy employment figures mask the reality of vast ‘concealed unemployment’, and we must ensure that the creation of thousands of jobs in any sector is used to get many people out of the benefits trap and turn them into real earners.

“But we cannot rely on one sector which is essentially the distribution of products and services generated elsewhere. We need to be involved with 21st century activities. This means no more easy rides for people, and it requires fundamental changes to our educational system to ensure people have knowledge in the industries and skills that really count.

“Each and every one of us has some responsibility to turn this society around, and focus on the creation of wealth through real jobs which add genuine value. Those who think that is impossible need only look across the border.”


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