Vernon Coaker MP, Labour’s Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary, commenting on the announcement of 760 job losses at FG Wilson, said:
“The 760 job losses announced at FG Wilson are devastating news for those affected, and a real blow to Northern Ireland’s economy. I visited their manufacturing centre in Larne earlier this year and met many of the highly-skilled workers now facing redundancy. There will be huge concern in East Antrim and throughout the region, and I have been in contact with local MP and Finance Minister Sammy Wilson to offer any assistance I can.
“This is more bad news in a week when we saw another rise in unemployment in Northern Ireland, bringing it above the UK average. Almost half of those out of a job have been without work for over a year. Nearly 1 in 4 young people are unemployed.
“The Tory-led Government has let Northern Ireland down. After months of talks about devolving corporation tax powers to Northern Ireland there is still no agreement between the Treasury and the Executive, and discussions seem to have stalled. But rising unemployment and major job losses show that Northern Ireland’s economy can’t wait. We need a Plan B. We need action now.
“Labour has a real plan for jobs and growth in Northern Ireland and across the UK. We would reverse the Tory-led Government’s damaging VAT rise for a temporary period to give immediate help to our high streets and struggling families and pensioners. We would bring forward long-term investment projects to get people back to work and strengthen our economy for the future. We would give a one-year national insurance tax break to every small firm which take on extra workers, helping to create jobs. And we would have a £2 billion tax on bank bonuses to fund a real jobs guarantee for young people.
“The Tory-led Government at Westminster should give Northern Ireland the attention it deserves. The Secretary of State needs to tell us what she is going to do to help get Northern Ireland’s economy moving, and she needs to get on with doing it.”