Call for roadmap to recovery as unemployment in Upper Bann spikes

The rising numbers claiming unemployment benefits in Upper Bann is causing concern, says the local MP.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 4:50 pm

DUP MP Carla Lockhart called for a roadmap to reopening the economy, particularly in light of the latest statistics.

She revealed: “There were 3,455 actual claimants in Upper Bann in January 2021, which was 4.3% of the population aged 16-64. This was 1,790 higher than January 2020, before the UK lockdown began. There were 710 claimants aged 18-24 in January 2021, 385 higher than January 2020.

“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on our economy, with industries decimated by reduction in demand and the closure of many sectors as a result of government imposed restrictions. As a result people are losing jobs and incomes, and households are facing great uncertainty.

Carla Lockhart delivers her maiden speech.

“The latest claimant count for Upper Bann shows that locally we have cause for concern. 3,455 claimants shows the scale of this problem and I fear many more will be added to this count over the coming months. That is why I have been urging the NI Executive to set out a roadmap to recovery and re-opening. People need hope, they need to be assured of getting a way forward that enables business to open and stay open while increasing enforcement and support for compliance with guidelines. We also need the Government to step forward with tailored support packages for industries like aviation, which we know locally has suffered a hit in terms of job losses.

“I will continue to press both Stormont and Westminster to do all they can to support jobs and household incomes. We need to learn to live with COVID-19, and get out of this cycle of lockdowns which is devastating our economy and workforce.”

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