McLaughlin takes Invest NI to task
Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin met with Invest NI CEO, Alastair Hamilton, ILEX and Derry City Council (DCC) in Derry on Friday last to discuss the lack of investment in the North West and to identify unique selling points for the Region.
Maeve McLaughlin said:
“I hosted a meeting with the CEO of Invest NI (INI), Alastair Hamilton, ILEX and DCC in the City on Friday last to discuss the lack of investment in the North West and to identify the unique selling points of the Region.
“The key message that we delivered to Alastair Hamilton was that INI needs to have a strategy that tackles regional disparities. We identified a number of projects that should inform INI’s strategy of marketing this region.
“Among these unique selling points are the Creative industries and technology , Connected Health -utilising projects such as : C-Tric, Project Kelvin and Research facilities at Magee University Campus to create Centres of Excellence.
“They should also be highlighting the quality of life, the age profile of the available workforce and the fact that it is the Gateway to the North West Region etc.
“I pointed out the need for INI to exploit all of these selling features in a properly constructed marketing strategy.
“The inadequacies in INI’s Investment strategy are glaring and it needs to be re-examined. How does it explain the fact that 60% of investment support offered from 2011-2012 was concentrated on eight constituencies in the north. These eight constituencies were all located East of the Bann and in and around the Belfast Metropolitan Area.“The remaining 40% was spread across the rest of the north, including Derry which received only 5% of total investment. Given that over 30% of Invest NI funding was directed towards only two constituencies and that 60% was concentrated in and around Belfast, it is clear that Invest NI investment support is concentrated on specific constituency areas. Whether deliberate or not this disparity in allocation is unacceptable and needs to be redressed as a matter of urgency.”