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No Sign of Economic Growth in Fermanagh - Flanagan
Published: 29 July, 2015
Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has said that many people in Fermanagh will wonder where the often spoken of economic recovery is taking place.
Mr Flanagan, who is the Deputy Chair of the Assembly's Enterprise, Trade & Investment Committee, was speaking after the publication of the most recent Composite Economic Index, which found that the economy across the north had grown by 2.5%.
The Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA said:
"Despite all the talk of an economic recovery and of economic growth, very many people across the north are wondering where this recovery is taking place because the effects aren't being felt in many households.
"That is certainly the case in a county like Fermanagh, where employment opportunities for our young people are extremely scarce and skilled workers are being forced to travel or move elsewhere in search of employment.
"Anyone who has been to one of our airports on a Sunday evening or Monday morning will have seen hundreds of people, many of them from Fermanagh, boarding flights to work in England and not returning until the Friday, if they come back at all.
"Driving on any of the main roads out of Fermanagh, one can thankfully see plenty of local manufacturing products being exported to other areas, but very few of them are required locally due to the fact that there is little if any construction activity taking place in Fermanagh at present.
"Local families are struggling with an average disposable income of just £80 per week as opposed to £231 per household in London as a result of the prevalence of low-pay in our society. That situation has only got worse in recent years.
"Many families are under pressure from the challenges of negative equity, mortgage arrears, rising rents and a shortage of suitable homes. Being told that the price of a home is increasing is hardly welcome news, no matter how it is peddled in the media, for families who cannot get access to a decent home.
"Local newspapers having headlines urging first time buyers 'to take the plunge' is not responsible journalism and attitudes like this were responsible for fuelling the unsustainable boom that in the construction sector that so many in our society continue to suffer from.
"We have a situation where there is a growing number of precariat workers, faced with reducing employment rights and unknown working hours and incomes due to the growth of zero hour contracts.
"The continuing austerity measures with further cuts to public services and the welfare budget being forced upon us by the British government will only worsen the current situation.
"What we need to see is a broad-based campaign involving civic society and those opposed to these cuts to challenge the neo-liberal argument that there is no more money, despite the British government finding tens of billions of pounds for nuclear weapons and for tax breaks for millionaires at the expense of citizens living in poverty." ENDS
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