Belfast Telegraph

Invest NI defends record in bringing jobs to north west


Invest NI has created more jobs in the north west through inward investment in 2012-13 than at any time in the last five years, the agency has said.

It was hitting back against criticism last week from MLAs claiming it had discriminated against the region when it comes to job creation.

Its latest results show that in the last year it made 580 offers worth £12m of assistance to both local and external companies in the north west, which resulted in nearly 700 new jobs.

That brings total investment from Invest NI to £54m in the region, which includes Londonderry, Limavady, Coleraine and Strabane.

It said 315 of the new jobs were as a result of foreign direct investment (FDI), 10% of the total for the whole of Northern Ireland and up from 132 in 2011-12 and its most successful year in the last five. In 2010-11 a toal of 299 posts were created there through FDI, 122 in 2009-10 and 47 in 2008-9.

Chief executive Alistair Hamilton said the data proves the agency has not overlooked the north west.

"I hope these figures will be received with the positive response they deserve by those who have recently been very vocal in their criticism of Invest NI, on both its support for the north west and its ability to attract FDI to the area," he said.

"In addition to the above support, Invest NI has also invested over £5.5m in total to supporting council initiatives in the north west under the Local Economic Development measures, part funded by European Regional Development Fund. This support helps councils develop programmes to specifically address the needs of businesses in their area and boost local economic development."

Last week, Sinn Fein MLA Maeve McLaughlin claimed there was no north west plan by the agency, and in particular for the Foyle constituency.

However, research carried out by the fDi Markets, a research company owned by the Financial Times parent Pearson, found that between 2003-12 and on a per capita basis, more jobs from FDI projects were created in Londonderry than in any other UK city.