Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Executive must launch economic recovery plan

In the week that a report tells us we are enduring our worst recession in history, now is perhaps an apposite time to ask what precisely our well-remunerated MLAs are doing about it.

The Executive's Programme for Government has remained unaltered since its publication in January 2008, despite the fact that the economy is in a disastrous state and unemployment continues to rise.

Seven per cent of the working population are now unemployed, compared with 4.3% last year. Experts warn of a "lost generation" of young graduates unable to find work.

Where, it may be asked, is the urgent political response to this?

Given the inactivity of our Executive in the face of this desperate situation, and our political parties' mystifying obsession with the devolution of policing and justice powers, it is unsurprising that the report predicted that the situation will not improve for at least another year. But because of our continuing predilection for voting on tribal and religious lines, the parties know they can ignore the economy and concentrate on winning votes by, for example, trying to have the Parades Commission abolished.

If, as has been rumoured, the Stormont institutions fall over the policing and justice delay, it would be nice to think the electorate do not forget this recession, and what has been done, and not done, by our parties.

Will it take street protests and marches by the unemployed to make Northern Ireland's political elite embark on an economic recovery plan.

SIMON FINN

Strabane

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