Invest NI have failed Derry
Following a meeting with Invest NI, Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Martina Anderson has challenged the organisation over its lack of investment and assistance to ensure the economic development of Derry and the North West region.
Ms Anderson said:
"Performance reports by Invest NI show that investment is being skewed away from Derry and into relatively affluent areas.
"I want the Assembly Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee to investigate the activities of Invest NI and its continued failure to promote equal outcomes for the most disadvantaged areas and in particular Derry. INI figures show that there is a bias in directing investment to the Belfast Metropolitan Area and the East to the detriment of areas West of the Bann and border counties.
"The breakdowbn of Invest NI performance shows that the 11 councils West of the Bann received only 27% of investment while Belfast and the East received 73%. The 6 parliamentary constituencies West of the Bann receive only 26% of investment and Derry's share amounts to less than 8%. The 6 councils identified by DETI itself as being the most deprived received less than 18% of investment.
"It is clear from INI Performance Reports that INI sees the rest of the North as a Travel to Work Area for Belfast and the people of Derry. INI is attempting to justify its imbalanced investment patterns by implying that people who live in Derry, which receives the least amount of investment are unwilling to travel to work, in saying that there is an 'availability of jobs for those prepared to travel'.
"These disgraceful comments do not take into account the real difficulties and lengthy times for travel; inadequate linkages to Belfast; or the environmental impact of such travelling and delays and the implications on work/life balance and family life. Lower income levels in Derry also mean that people have less income to spend on travel.
"The decision-makers within INI entirely miss the point that balanced regional investment is about ensuring the survival and sustainability of local communities. INI's policy of ignoring particular areas like Derry will mean that our communities will not have a long-term sustainable future." ENDS