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The North West - Time for radical proposals to tackle economic divide

10 February, 2009

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Martina Anderson has said the report from PricewaterhouseCoopers highlights what Sinn Fein have been saying for years; that a radical approach is required to tackle the underinvestment and lack of economic activity in the North West.

She also called on the Executive to deliver on its commitment to tackle regional disparities and for a new policy to underpin economic development across the new council areas encompassing Derry City & Strabane, and Fermanagh and Omagh.

Ms Anderson said:

"The Review of Public Administration (RPA) presents an opportunity for a new beginning. If this is to be the case we cannot have the situation where a number of areas are going to be saddled with the same old problems because of poor infrastructure, a failure to attract direct investment and failed economic strategies.

"The report highlights the reality that the two new proposed councils of Derry City & Strabane and Fermanagh and Omagh will continue to suffer economically and socially unless there is a radical rethink.

"The legacy of failed economic policy and under investment west of the Bann needs to be fundamentally addressed.

"The Executive's Programme for Government and Investment Strategy, agreed by all of the Executive parties, contains a clear commitment to tackle regional disparities. We need to see this delivered.

"I welcome the announcement this week of the expansion of the Ulster University Magee Campus in Derry City. We now need to see a new approach that will support economic development in the North West and close the wealth gap with the East Coast. In the current economic climate that gap will only get worse unless the status quo is ended." ENDS

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