The Conservative spokesman in North Down, Frank Shivers, has expressed “deep concern” that the area is among the lowest recipients of Invest NI funding. Detail Data compiled the information for Northern Ireland's regional development agency, covering monies allocated between April 2011 and September 2014.
“These figures reveal that North Down was 21st out of 26 areas in Northern Ireland, receiving only £56.90 per capita, whereas Belfast was the highest recipient claiming £452.59 per capita”, Frank observed. “That’s a big disparity and it is concerning, because North Down has a strong tradition of small business and enterprise. A lot of people from the area commute to Belfast, but we have many great companies and a culture of start-ups, in towns like Bangor and Holywood. Look at firms like Whale Pumps, providing a hub for local industry, or the burgeoning media and post-production industry in Holywood, Helen’s Bay and elsewhere.”
“Invest NI deserves credit for releasing these figures into the public domain, but I think some regions have a right to ask questions and a right to ask that more is done to provide an equitable spread of funding. As our capital city, Belfast naturally takes a high proportion of funding, because it is a major centre of population and a major centre for our economy. Equally, North Down has one of Northern Ireland’s biggest settlements - Bangor - and a large suburban population in other towns and villages. We have a great tradition of private enterprise, and I would urge Invest NI to make sure it does more to support our existing companies and new start-ups.”