SDLP Jobs & Economy Spokesperson Sinéad McLaughlin has called for intensive work to address regional economic imbalance across the North, adding that it must be the priority of any restored Executive.
She was speaking after introducing a motion at the SDLP Conference in Derry.
Foyle MLA Ms McLaughlin said:
“Decades of chronic under-investment and economic mismanagement have resulted in huge disparities in prosperity across the North, with far too many people still trapped in poverty and disadvantage because of where they are born. Throughout my time in politics, I have highlighted this issue and we have experienced success in holding Invest NI to account for ignoring areas like the North-West and north and west Belfast when it comes to promoting investment. To function effectively, I believe Invest NI must be fundamentally reshaped and begin to collaborate with the South’s Industrial Development Agency to promote and grow the all-island economy.
“We also need to see a restored Stormont Executive and Assembly working to direct investment to those places that have been left behind for far too long. As part of that, legislation should be introduced with sub-regional economic targets around productivity, quality employment and skills, with Departments held accountable for their success.
“Ultimately, I believe the best way to address economic imbalance right across this island is through the creation of a New Ireland which has the potential to bring a huge amount of opportunity our way. Partition has been a disaster for the economy of this island and we should be addressing the problems in Derry and Armagh in the same way as those in Donegal and Louth.”