Over half of Residents (56%) "Cannot access a decent level of income for them and their families to feel secure," which places a disproportionate amount of the 12% listed as income deprived within the latest Multiple Deprivation Measures as living in the Market Community."

Market Survey


>> 28%

Of the Adult population of the Market suffer from unemployment.

>> Human Rights Indicator

The Market Community Demands a reduction in this figure from 28% to 18% by January 2020.

>> Action

The immediate development and implementation of fully resourced employment and economic development strategy for the area.



Everyone has the right to work – Article 23 UN Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

To accept as one of their primary aims and responsibilities the achievement and maintenance of as high and stable a level of employment as possible, with the view to the attainment of full employment – Article 1.1 European Social Charter (1961)

The right to equal opportunity in all social and economic activity, regardless of class, creed, disability, gender or ethnicity – Strand 6.1, Good Friday Agreement

Targeting Social Need initiative and a range of measures aimed at combatting unemployment … by targeting objective social need – Strand 7.1 Good Friday Agreement

The Survey also showed

>> 14%

of people work within the Market community

(e.g. school, community projects etc.).

>> 56%

of people cannot access a decent level of income for them

and their families to feel secure.

>> 22%

of people would like to get involved in Employment Initiatives. 

Inescapable Poverty:

Unemployment and the Low Wage economy

The survey showed a damning figure of 28% unemployment in the Market, in keeping with the latest census data available from March 2011 which showed a third of the population for the local Super Output Areas as out of work.89 Equally disturbing is the fact that over half
of residents (56%) “Cannot access a decent level of income for them and their families to feel secure,” which places a disproportionate amount of the 12% listed as income deprived within the latest Multiple Deprivation Measures as living in the Market community.90

The Tunnels will be a real economic driver and convert 'dead space' into a vibrant civic hub.

The Impacts of Unemployment

The negative social impacts of unemployment have long been known and are well documented.91 When reviewing more recent literature on the topic in the aftermath of the ‘Great Recession’ of 2008, the economic commentator Binyamin Appelbaum has noted that:

Our economic malaise has spurred a wave of research about the impact of unemployment on individuals and the broader economy. The findings are disheartening. The consequences are both devastating and enduring. People who lose jobs, even if they eventually find new ones, suffer lasting damage to their earnings potential, their health and the prospects of their children. And the longer it takes to find a new job, the deeper the damage appears to be. 92

Appelbaum also noted that “studies show that people who can’t find work become more likely as time marches on to suffer from depression and other health problems,” and that there is also a severe intergenerational impact on families and an increased likelihood of premature death,93 all of which fit with the other findings from the 2018 Market Community Survey. In a recent study, ‘disconnection from meaningful work’ has been listed as first among the causes of depression,94 echoing a 2010 Pew survey which noted that “no matter what the duration of unemployment, it’s tough being out of work, emotionally as well as financially. The survey documents the emotional burden-from fretful nights to family fights and dwindling self-respect-that jobless workers face” and that “unemployment often weakened ties to family and friends at perhaps a time when the unemployed most needed support.”95 A 2010 report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago has noted that “high levels of long­term unemployment typically persist well into an economic recovery, since firms tend to hire the long-term unemployed last.”96 We have seen earlier in this document how the Market as a community was actively impoverished and marginalised by a number of state policies. Subsequent economic crises have only compounded the problem, as individuals and then wider family units become locked into a cycle of unemployment and poverty. In a 2007 paper on the link between poverty and education, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation noted that

A primary cause of child poverty is a lack of opportunities among parents with low skills and low qualifi.cations. Such parents are less likely to work, and if they do work they are more likely to have low earnings. The task of balancing the economic demands of raising a family and the need to fi.nd time to devote to children is much harder for people in low-paid jobs with limited power to negotiate working arrangements. Where parents have to make a choice between low income and long hours, it is difficult to give children good life chances. 97

Research has shown that someone who has grown up in poverty is disadvantaged well into adulthood. This is to a large extent because people from disadvantaged homes are less likely to get good educational qualifications.98 Unemployment, the active deindustrialisation that produced it, and the planning policies and techniques which enforce it, are key examples of the multiple factors which combine to disconnect the people of the Market from their city. Some would dismiss the community’s claim to disconnection from the physical, social and economic life of Belfast as nonsense, arguing that it lies in the heart of the city and adjacent to the numerous new industries. These claims are in themselves nonsense, as we also seen in this document, the Market
– and all other inner-city working class communities – were actively cut off from,
and then locked out of, Belfast’s new found prosperity. We need only look at the recent economic devastation wrought to the heart
of Belfast by the Primark fire to see how barriers and the blockage of thoroughfares
– both physical and psychological – have a widespread and rolling impact on an area. Dr Brendan Murtagh of Queen’s University has recently made note of the impact of Belfast’s uneven prosperity and the challenges facing communities like the Market, writing that

The knowledge economy that has expanded a more cosmopolitan and outward looking city is off-limits to the most divided and disadvantaged communities. They face a skills mismatch (with depressingly low levels of literacy and numeracy, especially among young males); and a spatial mismatch, in that new jobs are concentrated in investment sites that are not close to (or interested in) the poorest places. A different regime, that is more sustainable in these conditions, has emerged in the form of social enterprises, intermediary labour markets, local trading, and (limited) community finance. It is not particularly new but has a proven record of success in creating jobs, labour mobility, cooperative start-ups, and in delivering services in areas where private and (increasingly) public markets are failing. 99

Rebuilding the Local Economy:

Our Actions for Government

By now we have seen the long-term, systemic and interconnected nature of the problems identified in the 2018 Market Community Survey – problems which the residents endure every day as their lived experience. The community has not been passive on these issues, and in the last year alone the Market Development Association has helped over 100 residents through employment training courses, and has continued to lead in the development of the Tunnels Project, and more recently explored the possibility of a social and tourism centre in the area, both of which could create in excess of 120 rewarding and well-paid jobs between them – in turn creating the type of inclusive and sustainable economic development called for above by Dr Murtagh above. The Market community is full of talent and ambition. We just need the resources to unlock it. In order to do this, we demand the immediate development and implementation of fully resourced employment and economic development strategy for the area, to be implemented in conjunction with the Overdevelopment, Housing, and other Market Human Rights Indicators.

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