City Deal a great start - but more must be done to transform NW economy: Eastwood

Foyle MP Colum Eastwood says further investment is needed to transform the North West’s economy for the future.

Wednesday, 24th February 2021, 10:51 am

He was speaking as the business case for the multi-million pounds Derry City and Strabane District City Deal was approved by NI Secretary of State Brandon Lewis.

It has been described as a “game changer” for the region’s economic development.

The SDLP leader, however, says it’s just a start.

Foyle MP Colum Eastwood.

“The City Deal is a significant step forward in building this city’s economy and will, no doubt, benefit the entire North West region,” he added.

“The SDLP has been arguing for a City Deal for Derry at Westminster, in the Northern Ireland Assembly and at local government level for years, starting with Mark Durkan when he was MP for Foyle.

“It is clear that there are exciting projects involved in this City Deal that will begin the transformation of Derry’s economy, with the hope that this help will create new jobs for our people and allow them to build a life here.

“The City Deal is a great start and should be seen as the beginning of the transformation of the northwest’s economy- not the end.”

He says works needs to continue to attract high quality jobs to Derry and to make the north west region an attractive place to work remotely in a fast-changing global economy.

He added: “We need to see an expanded, full-scale university in Derry with over 10,000 students and the right kind of courses to attract and maintain students to our city and region. Only with this further investment can we put an end to the exodus of our young people having to go elsewhere for education and career opportunities.

“It is our hope that the City Deal, coupled with the all-island infrastructure approach spearheaded by Minister Nichola Mallon, can be the beginning of a real economic and societal change for the northwest of Ireland.”