CREATING jobs needs to be the focus of the Northern Ireland Assembly, according to Mid Ulster MLA and SDLP Economy spokesman Patsy McGlone.
During an Assembly debate earlier this week Mr McGlone welcomed the Executive’s Investment Strategy for the future.
It outlined a £5 billion spend between now and 2015 and a further £7 billion between then and 2021.
Urging a robust and effective Investment strategy, Mr McGlone said: “I welcome OFDFM’s presentation of the Investment Strategy for 2011-21.
“The actual investment delivered will depend on economic circumstances and political decisions beyond the control of this, or the next, Executive. Perhaps by 2021 the A5 project will be completed.
“Corporation Tax remains the great unknown in the Executive’s Investment Strategy. There is general agreement that a reduction in corporation tax will encourage investment and provide a much needed boost to our Economy.
“We continue to hear about how the negotiations with the Treasury are at a critical point, but we have no clear information about when, or if, the devolution of the power to set the Corporation Tax rate will ever take place.
“There is much more to be done in increasing cohesion, sharing and integration of public services on a North/South basis. I welcome the Health Minister’s recently declared intention to “explore fully an all-island solution for the provision” of Paediatric Congenital Cardiac Services.
“One of the key results by which we can assess the Executive’s strategy to date is in Job Creation. Across the North between 2007 and March 2012 there has been a decrease of 38,500 employee jobs. One third of these have been in the construction sector.
“The rise in unemployment has been higher in here than in any other region of the UK. This can hardly be viewed as a coherent, shared and integrated success.
“The SDLP wants to see an Investment Strategy that delivers Jobs in all constituencies - not just those constituencies with a particular party representation at Executive level.”