Séan Neeson MLA, who is Alliance Enterprise spokesperson, stated: “I am very pleased that my Assembly amendment was passed. I believe that employment opportunities exist across Northern Ireland, but segregation, division and poor services – particularly in housing, transport and education – stop people from accessing those opportunities.
“The role of Government is that of an enabler. The costs of dividing our society are paid by the very investors who should allocate all their resources to tackling exclusion – not propping up artificial segregation. People must have access to jobs, both physically, through sustainable transport and housing; and educationally, through training and skills.
“The segregation in our society continues to come at a great cost. It means that ongoing fear and distrust are present in society, in the economy and even in the Executive. For our economy, it means that there are severe limitations on labour-market mobility.
“We live in uncertain economic times, but one economic absolute is that prosperity comes to places with the highest levels of labour-market mobility. If people cannot move house or workplace for fear of being labelled by the other side, we will all be condemned to poor economic performance and, therefore, to relative deprivation compared to our neighbours.
“Segregation is a clear competitive disadvantage. It is to the shame of this Executive that they have failed to tackle it, despite claiming to make the economy their priority. The cost of division and the need to rebalance the economy have an impact on the public services that potential investors could use. During this Assembly term alone, the provision of education, leisure and health facilities on a segregated basis has already cost billions – money that could have been invested in our workforce. It is time for change, and it is time for the single-issue Executive parties to realise that it is time for change.”