Labour's Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary, Vernon Coaker MP, responding to the Secretary of State's claim in the House of Commons on Wednesday that "57,000 more people are in jobs in Northern Ireland than were in jobs before the election", said:
"The Secretary of State said that the Tory-led government had created 57,000 jobs in Northern Ireland since May 2010. Research we've obtained from the House of Commons Library show that he is wrong and that his figures don't add up. Owen Paterson has invented 30,000 jobs that don't exist.
"This is another example of an out of touch government and Secretary of State. They haven't got the right policies, and now they can't even find the right figures. Instead of manufacturing fictional jobs, Owen Paterson should have been calling for measures in the Budget and the Queen's Speech to create real jobs and economic growth in Northern Ireland.
"These 30,000 made-up jobs don't make up for the 91,000 pensioners and the 22,500 families in Northern Ireland who are losing out because of the Tory-led government's Granny Tax and cuts to tax credits.
"The Secretary of State needs to do his homework in future. The people of Northern Ireland don't expect him to get his sums wrong on something as important as this."