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Invest NI grant allocation practices need to be reviewed - McCann

16 February, 2011 - by Jennifer McCann

Sinn Fein MLA Jennifer McCann and Sinn Féin spokesperson on the economy has criticised Invest NI for giving public money to a London company who says it will pass the financial benefits received to current employees in London who wish to relocate to Belfast.

Speaking today Ms McCann said:

“Invest NI have been under increasing amounts of scrutiny due to the low levels of investment currently being allocated to areas such as West and North Belfast, and west of the Bann which are areas with the highest rate of income deprivation and unemployment in the North.

“Further to this there have been millions of pounds wasted on issues such as the rental of empty offices or indeed the allocation of funding to firms that have since disinvested in the local economy.

“It has now come to light that a London based law firm is now paying £8,000 to existing staff members who wish to relocate from London to here. These are monies that should have gone directly to job creation locally.

“The relocation of staff from other countries will do little to increase levels of job creation or retention in the local economy.

“Invest NI is an organisation that receives millions of pounds in public funding per year. While any potential investment has to be welcomed there is a need for such bodies to ensure that public money is well spent, particularly in terms of economic growth.

“Given the financial constraints that all government departments are working under and the severe economic difficulties facing families and communities in areas suffering from high levels of under investment it is extremely important that any potential opportunity to create employment must go to the benefit of people who need it most.

“It is clear that there is a need for a review into the workings of Invest NI and in the way public money given to that organisation for investment and job creation is spent."

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