SDLP: Derry jobs investment ‘not good enough’ - Eastwood

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood
SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood

Derry’s share of Invest NI backed inward investment projects is not nearly enough, SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood has said.

The Foyle MLA made the comment after Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment revealed that businesses in Derry received less than 3% of the total financial assistance offered by Invest NI last year.

The figures further revealed that just 1.4% of all new jobs promoted by the body in the Foyle constituency pay more than 25% above the average private sector wage (around £26,000 or more). Of the 1,366 new jobs promoted which pay more than £26,000 only seven were in the Derry area.

Mr Eastwood has called on DETI Minister Arlene Foster and Invest NI to focus not only on the promotion of a greater number of jobs but also on the delivery of better quality posts for Derry.

“The latest figures from the minister are stark evidence that not nearly enough is being done by Invest NI to promote job creation and in particular to attract high end jobs to Derry.

“The First Minister and deputy First Minister this week made great play on their efforts in the area of inward investment but unfortunately the people of this city have not seen much benefit from any investment.

“Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness welcomed the creation of almost 340 high end inward investment jobs in Belfast as a demonstration of the advantages to investors of doing business in Northern Ireland. However, it seems Derry – which along with Belfast was identified in the Executive’s Economic Strategy as key driver for economic growth - is not being promoted with the same vigour as the constituencies of the Greater Belfast area.

“The latest figures show that financial assistance from Invest NI in the Derry area was just 2.7% of the total across Northern Ireland which is simply not good enough for the people of our city.

“It is not acceptable that just over 1% of the jobs promoted in Foyle by Invest NI last year offer what would be considered a good salary when compared with the Belfast constituencies where up to 95% of jobs promoted pay 25% above the average private sector wage.”

“It has been clearly identified by Stormont’s leadership that Derry’s economic growth is vital to the prosperity of the entire North West region, yet incredibly the city seems to be getting no greater measure of support in terms of investment. In fact Derry’s share of the Invest NI financial assistance pot is reducing year on year from 5% in 2011-12, to 4.8% in 2012-13 and a paltry 2.7% last year. The level of investment in our city needs to change dramatically in order for Derry to achieve its potential.”