Fermanagh South Tyrone Sinn Féin Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Flanagan raises youth unemployment in Budget debate.

Published: 23 February, 2015

Speaking in the Assembly Budget Debate today Phil Flanagan MLA highlighted Youth unemployment and emigration as twin drains on our economy.

The Vice Chair of the Enterprise Committee said:

"We are working under the pressures of a reduced Block Grant and a Tory-imposed austerity agenda.

"While not possessing the necessary fiscal powers to design our own budget, places us in a form of economic straitjacket, there are areas which represent a drain on our finances that we should be determined to address.

"These are youth unemployment and the brain drain of our educated youth to the benefit of other economies.

"Our challenge should be to end youth unemployment and graduate emigration. Economic policies dictated by a Tory austerity agenda are forcing our young people into emigration, unemployment, or unstable, low-paid employment.

"In areas that the Executive and Assembly has control over - such as education-we have established ourselves as a world leader. We have some of the best-educated young people in Europe but we are losing many of them to other economies.

"When the Westminster Government talks about scrapping housing benefit for the under 25s and refuses to implement the European Youth Guarantee Scheme we should see this for what it is. It is not about making things fairer - it's another attack on our most precious asset - our youth!

"All of our efforts to build a fairer society are being undermined in economic and fiscal policy areas that we do not control.

"If we are to tackle the twin drains on our economy of unemployment and emigration and build a fairer society then we must demand the tools to do so - we need access to full fiscal powers central to building a renewed and sustainable local economy.

"There is no room for complacency, we need to work collectively to build a brighter future for our young people." CRÍOCH/END