New jobs bill will force ‘positive discrimination’ and end ‘decades of neglect’ of Derry

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Foyle MLA Sinéad McLaughlin says a new regional jobs and investment bill will force ‘positive discrimination’ and end ‘decades of neglect’ of Derry.

Speaking in Stormont on Monday the SDLP economy spokesperson told MLAs that ‘economic investment strategy over the past two decades’ had resulted in ‘profound imbalances in our economy and a postcode lottery for jobs’.

Derry and the north-west city region are still without a university of the size that was promised, without the investment that has been pledged and without the jobs that are so badly needed,” she said.

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Ms. McLaughlin said Derry was the only metropolitan area of scale outside Belfast able to compete with cities island-wide.

Sinéad McLaughlinSinéad McLaughlin
Sinéad McLaughlin

“To invest in Derry is to invest in the whole of the economy, since it is there that special intervention will have the most transformative impact. The opportunity before us is huge,” said the Foyle MLA, who has vowed to table a new Regional Jobs & Investment Bill.

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I’m launching a Private Member’s Bill to address the neglect of Derry’s economy ...

“It requires deliberate and proactive policies and interventions. It requires affirmative action to address the decades of neglect. It requires positive discrimination to tilt the balance of the economy and ensure that everyone has a fair chance to succeed.

"That positive discrimination must take the form of legislation. Therefore, I will propose a new law that will change the way in which this place works so that we finally prioritise regional balance in jobs, skills and investment. The legislation will create binding targets for Departments and provide accountability for our Government. It will finally reform Invest NI and expand higher education provision in the NW,” she said.