Invest NI are failing to address regional inequalities in investment - Anderson
Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has slammed the failure by Invest NI to address regional inequalities in investment across the North of Ireland. Speaking in the Assembly today through a Sinn Féin motion outlining this issue Ms Anderson said:
"The Programme for Government pledged all Government Departments and agencies, including Invest NI, "to develop new and innovative measures that will address existing patterns of socio-economic disadvantage and target resources and efforts towards those in greatest objective need".
"To date Invest NI have failed in the delivery of this and in fact have actually lobbied new investors not to locate in certain areas.
"Invest NI and DETI have also refused to provide Sinn Féin with detailed statistics about the actual number of jobs created or lost, by reference to parliamentary constituency generally and, specifically, client companies in Foyle. Their excuse was the absence of a so-called 'comprehensive dataset'.
"Invest NI and DETI have also refused to provide detailed statistics about the actual amount of financial assistance provided and the actual overall investment secured by reference to parliamentary constituencies generally and, specifically, client companies in Foyle. They claimed this information would cost too much to publish. Presumably they meant the cost to their own credibility."
"The very failure to provide investment and therefore jobs into these regions is a glaring example of over 90 years of disadvantage into areas such as West and North Belfast, Foyle and Fermanagh/South Tyrone. This is the worst excesses of big house Unionism perpetuating inequalities for the nationalist/republican and working class unionist communities.
"This cannot be allowed to continue and Sinn Fein will strive to deliver inward investment across the board to raise all other regions to the level that Invest NI have given some privileged and protected areas."
The patterns of inequality uncovered by Sinn Féin in the period since then are
1) One in three of all first-time inward investment projects promoted by Invest NI was in South Belfast but not the Markets or Donegall Pass;
2) One in two of all new jobs promoted by Invest NI was in the three north-eastern constituencies - South Belfast, East Belfast and East Antrim;
3) The constituencies of East Derry and North Antrim - held by two DUP MPs - had no new first-time Invest NI inward investment projects promoted in the last decade;
4) South Belfast routinely had more Invest NI jobs and projects promoted - on a range of indicators - than the combined total for the entire border corridor of Foyle, West Tyrone, Fermanagh and South Tyrone, and Newry and Armagh.