Belfast Telegraph

We’ve doubled amount of investment in Derry, claims Invest NI

By Brendan McDaid

Invest Northern Ireland has hit back at critics by saying it has doubled its investment in Londonderry over the past year.

Invest NI chiefs said that performance results for the Derry City Council area during 2012/13 spoke for themselves.

Their statement follows widespread criticism levelled at the body for its track record of attracting investment to the north west, which was branded a “picture of deep, proven neglect” by one politician.

Foyle SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood and Sinn Fein have expressed discontent on the lack of investors in the area.

Invest NI chief executive Alistair Hamilton was grilled last month on on the organisation's performance by local MLAs.

He was asked why just 6% of overseas jobs created in Northern Ireland came to the region.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin had said: “The figures speak for themselves and the 403 jobs that were promoted in the Foyle constituency alludes to 6% of the total promoted.

“Some 56% of jobs promoted went into eight constituencies which were all based in and around the Belfast area, that is a fact which is in the public domain, so that leaves 44% which obviously went across the rest of the North, and Derry got 6%.”

Mr Hamilton insisted Invest NI is committed to job creation outside of greater Belfast.

He said: “The Audit Office report for FDI (foreign direct investment) jobs per 10,000 pro rata in the east is 158 and in the west it is 146, so there is practically no difference.”

Invest NI bosses said at the weekend their 2012/13 performance results for Derry show “an increase in jobs promoted and almost double the level of support offered to companies in the council area than in the previous year”.

They said it made offers totalling £7.8m in the past financial year securing almost £32m of investment commitments from businesses in the area.

In turn, this is credited for ‘promoting’ 481 new jobs, up 18% on the previous year. Some 200 of the jobs were as a result of foreign direct investment.

Des Gartland, manager of Invest NI's north west regional office, said: “This is a positive performance by Invest NI in the Derry District Council area.

“The support offered in 2012/13 is almost double that of the previous year. I hope that goes some way to addressing the criticism and concerns which have been directed at Invest NI about its performance here. Invest NI is fully committed to working in partnership with local stakeholders to ensure that every region is positively portrayed and can maximise its success in securing investment projects.”

factfile

Invest Northern Ireland has faced criticism in the past for using figures based on jobs promoted, rather than the figure of jobs created.

Jobs that Invest NI successfully promotes are essentially based on promises that they will be created by companies and investors — and that doesn’t always happen.

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