Press Release

Committee condemns unemployment risks in West Belfast and Greater Shankill

Session: 2008/2009

Date: Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Reference: E&L 04/08

People in West Belfast and the Greater Shankill area have a 40% unemployment rate—despite the area having only one third of Belfast’s working age population.

This was the message presented today in evidence to the Committee for Employment and Learning at a meeting in the Millennium Outreach Centre.

Chairperson of the Committee, Sue Ramsey MLA said:

“The credit crunch means that everyone worries about unemployment and its effects. However the levels of unemployment in these areas of Belfast are unacceptably high and must be urgently addressed.
“This issue effects lives across the West Belfast and Greater Shankill areas and the committee is resolved to finding out why. It’s intolerable that people are being left behind in education and employment simply because of their postcode”

The Employment Services Board, a community based employment service, presented evidence to the committee on unemployment and economic activity in West Belfast and Greater Shankill Area. Their findings show that despite having only one third of the working age population in Belfast, the area has nearly half of all people on income support, half of all those on Job Seekers’ Allowance and 45% of all those on incapacity benefit.

ENDS


Notes to Editors:

The Employment Services Board published a report in January 2007 highlighting the disparity between the number of people of working age in the West Belfast and Greater Shankill areas and the high levels of unemployment.

The Committee for Employment and Learning is committed to holding its meetings in local community settings on a regular basis to promote participation and engagement at a local level.

The Committee Chairperson is Ms. Sue Ramsey MLA
The Deputy Chairperson is Mr. Robin Newton MLA

Committee members:
Mr. Alex Attwood MLA
Mr. Paul Butler MLA
Rev. Dr. Robert Coulter MLA
Mr. Alex Easton MLA
Mr. David Hilditch MLA
Mr. William Irwin MLA
Ms. Anna Lo MLA
Mr. David McClarty MLA
Mrs. Claire McGill MLA

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