SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey has said that any revised budget that is drawn up as a result of the Talks process that concluded earlier this week must focus positively on the West.
“The SDLP voted against the draft budget for a number of reasons including the fact that it was anti-the West as it did not focus on the very real need for investment and infrastructure development here.
“The high levels of unemployment and immigration west of the Bann, particularly in Derry must be addressed proactively.
“When voting against the draft budget, the SDLP argued very strongly that it was necessary for the five Executive parties to come together to negotiate a better deal with the UK Government. Now that has happened and a better deal has been struck. It is not all we would have liked, but it is a better deal which will allow the budget to be revised.
“It is essential that the revised budget includes an economic rebalancing, focussing on job creation in the north west and an expansion of Magee which could become the main economic driver in the region.
“I would like to see a meeting of the North South Ministerial Council in the North West to consider these issues and to consider a strategic approach such as the North West Gateway Initiative.
“The Irish Government has been very proactive in guaranteeing money for the A5 and this is a very positive start that the Executive must now commit to developing.”