Economy minister Diane Dodds has been challenged by SDLP MLA Sinead McLaughlin on the performance of Invest NI, after it was revealed that her Foyle constituency had one of the lowest levels of jobs created through financial support from Invest NI.
The Derry MLA, who is the SDLP’s economy spokesperson, has tabled a question in the Assembly: “To ask the minister for the economy if she believes it is unfair, unreasonable and unacceptable that the Foyle constituency with the highest unemployment and economic inactivity in Northern Ireland also had one of the lowest levels of jobs created through direct financial assistance from Invest NI of any Northern Ireland constituency in 2016/17.”
Sinead McLaughlin said: “These latest published statistics lay bare the reality that Derry has not only been left behind the rest of Northern Ireland historically, but also that the situation is actually getting worse. I have asked economy minister Diane Dodds if she accepts this is ‘unfair, unreasonable and unacceptable’ – and I can tell her that it is.
“The people of Derry demand better than this. A mere 221 jobs were created in the Foyle constituency in 2016/17 with the assistance of Invest NI financial support. This contrasts to 1,408 in Belfast South, 550 in Upper Bann, 431 in Belfast East, 425 in Newry and Armagh and 382 in Fermanagh and South Tyrone. Foyle is near the bottom of the list in terms of the new jobs created through Invest NI financial support, just as it as the top of the list in terms of unemployment and economic inactivity.
“The SDLP is demanding economic equality and regional economic balance. Invest NI must play the core part, alongside government, in delivering this.”
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