Ulster Unionist MLA for East Antrim Roy Beggs has again raised the issue of the local economy and job creation at the Assembly.
He asked the Minister for Employment and Learning “what measures he has introduced to address unemployment in East Antrim following the significant local job losses.”
In reply the range of schemes an services offered by Jobs and Benefits Offices in the area were listed including the Steps to Work and Pathways to Work programmes. Under the Collaboration and Innovation Fund, just under £4 million has been allocated to eight organisations, to help 1,500 unemployed young people from greater Belfast and East Antrim to get into further education, employment or training.
The Minister also made mention of the recent Jobs Fair co-hosted by Larne Borough Council and Ledcom in the Town Hall and claimed “ in the period April to December 2012 the Employment Service helped 1,250 people find employment in East Antrim; 22% above target for the period.”
Commenting, Roy Beggs MLA said:
“I congratulate all those involved in putting together the Jobs and Opportunities Fair at Larne Town Hall. The feedback I have received is very positive and the fact that over 350 people came through the doors says that the event was very much needed.
The hard facts are that there has been an increase of 25.5% in the number of people claiming unemployment related benefits in the borough of Larne over the past year. That equates to 222 Larne residents who were in gainful employment this time last year, but who are now seeking re employment. This is the highest increase anywhere in Northern Ireland. We need more employment opportunities in East Antrim. I shall continue to press the Department of Enterprize, Trade and Investment to support local employers and to encourage new employers into East Antrim.”
Note to editor:
Link to latest officials statistics
The average % increase in the claimant count (the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits) in Northern Ireland is 5.9% comparing January 2012 with January 2013.
Broken down by Council area, Larne is the worst in NI at 25.5% increase.
Carrickfergus has seen a 4.7% increase
Newtownabbey has seen a 3.9% in the claimant count.