Report claims budget discrimation against Derry

Foyle MP Mark Durkan is backing a report conducted by by U4D and the Chamber of Commerce which claims that the draft budget discriminates against Derry and the wider North West.

Mr Durkan says the report highlights some of the significant deficiencies in the Budget plans from a Derry point of view, particularly in terms of the failure of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure to make any funding bids linked to the city's designation as City of Culture.

According to Mark Durkan, DCAL's failure to make funding bids must be questioned, particularly as, at the initiaitve of Minister Conor Murphy, marker bids were made by the Depaertment of Social Development in anticipation of extra applications for funding as 2013 draws closer.

Mr Durkan also says it's disappointing that commitments on the entire length of the Derry to Belfast road have not been urgently progressed.

Given that the report was co-sponsored by the U4D "University for Derry" group, it's no surprise that it concludes the biggest single thing that can be done for the local economy is to expand the university.

Mr Durkan says he fully backs plans to substantially increase the size of the Magee campus, with a big increase in student numbers and many new courses in subjects that are relevant to the new economy industries.

He is also calling for the re-establishment of the Integrated Development Fund, which was abolished by the executive in 2008.