Investment Minister Jonathan Bell has been a regular visitor to Londonderry recently announcing almost 500 new jobs but Invest NI briefings released to the Sentinel under Freedom of Information show we’re still heavily subsidising private sector firms to get them to come here.
A bullish Invest NI has pointed out how we were the sixth highest city in the UK for attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) jobs per head of population between 2010 and 2014.
But private sector firms setting up here don’t want an economy so rebalanced they can’t avail of generous Invest NI grants as sweeteners.
According to a briefing document prepared by Damian McAuley, Director of Business Performance, EU and Risk Management, for the erstwhile Trade Minister Arlene Foster in January, taxpayers are subsidising job creation to a huge tune.
According to the statistical briefing on “Invest NI Activity Derry City and Strabane Super District Council Area” in the five years from 2009/10 to 2013/14 the people of Northern Ireland spent tens of millions of pounds trying to get new employers to come here.
So how much are we paying new jobs?
In terms of total Invest NI support there were 1,717 offers of support totalling £44.80m of assistance, contributing towards £208.83m of investment; including 65 offers of R&D support totalling £18.31m of assistance, contributing towards £64.52m of investment; and 327 offers for skills development support totalling £3.49m of assistance, contributing towards £12.09m of investment.
There were 3,162 new jobs promoted (including Regional Start Initiative Jobs); 141 jobsafeguarded.
In terms of support to locally-owned businesses there were 1,644 offers of support totalling £21 .92m of assistance, contributing towards £82.45m of investment. This includes 30 offers of support totalling £5.28m of assistance, contributing towards £8.73m of investment commitments by External Delivery Organisations, the beneficiaries of which will not be restricted to the area in which they are located. There were 1,199 new jobs promoted, 137 jobs safeguarded.
Meanwhile, 1,348 locally-owned business starts were offered support and 526 new jobs were promoted through the Regional Start Initiative.
And there were 73 offers of support totalling £22.88m of assistance, contributing towards £126.38m of investment for externally owned business. This led to 1,437 new jobs promoted and four jobs safeguarded.