Dickson: Need to tackle long-term unemployment

Alliance Party Chief Whip, Stewart Dickson MLA, has said the fall in unemployment across Northern Ireland should be cautiously welcomed, adding more must be done to tackle the long-term issue.

Mr Dickson was speaking after new figures revealed less people are now claiming unemployment benefits, with the claimant total now standing at 64,100.

Mr Dickson said: “Any fall in unemployment can only be seen as a positive, however we must be cautious as Northern Ireland has not yet emerged from the recession and these challenging economic times.

“While the unemployment rate is very good compared to Europe and the Republic of Ireland, it still stands at 7.8%. One way to further stimulate our local economy would be to invest in a ‘Green New Deal’, thereby encouraging markets to embrace a degree of innovation and change.

“Northern Ireland is open for business and we should be doing everything we can to increase investment opportunities. Just yesterday Craigavon pharmaceutical firm Almac announced the creation of 229 jobs. It is this type of growth and financial support I hope we can continue to attract and impact positively on employment in the longer term.”

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