SDLP Jobs and Economy Spokesperson Sinéad McLaughlin MLA and SDLP Stormont Leader Matthew O’Toole MLA today met with top officials at the Department for the Economy.
Ms McLaughlin and Mr O'Toole pressed the case for transformative change at Invest NI, particularly for sub-regional economies.
Foyle MLA Sinéad McLaughlin said:
“As damaging as the recent independent review of Invest NI was, it was perhaps just as scathing of the Department for the Economy’s management of the organisation. The governance that the department provided over Invest NI was clearly below the level expected for many years and their failure to provide implementation plans for our key economic strategy was inexcusable. There are serious questions to answer for the previous DUP Minister and his predecessors, on how such persistent and comprehensive failures could have been allowed to continue. Those failures are made all the worse by the fact that they were repeatedly called out on the floor of the Assembly for years, yet were ignored.
“Invest NI requires significant and profound change, including how it delivers for our sub-regional economies. It is my firm belief that the problems at the organisation will never be fixed if Invest NI does not recognise the key role it must play in tackling regional economic imbalance, including through introducing sub-regional targets for job growth and productivity. That was top of my agenda today and we didn’t miss the opportunity to make that case directly to the departmental officials.
“While today’s meeting was welcome, it’s also completely unacceptable that we do not have a minister in post to hold accountable for the response to this review. We need a viable plan to completely overhaul Invest NI and deliver an economic strategy that moves us away from low productivity and low skills.”