The Head of Business presented the above report details of which had been previously circulated to Members. The purpose of the report was to update Members on the delivery of the Investment Service and international relations activities. To seek Members’ approval for the forward work plan for 2019/2020 and associated budgets.
The Head of Business in response to Councillor McLaughlin clarified that as outlined within the report the sponsorship costs would be met from existing Business and Culture budgets and the NW Development Fund.
Councillor McLaughlin further referred to the statement within the report that alluded to a total of 5,096 jobs announcement in the DCSDC area since April 2015, and sought clarification regarding the statement as she felt this was somewhat misleading. The Head of Business clarified that the Council’s business team mapped out job announcements from the various agencies and primarily through Invest NI and the information was based on Companies yearly action plans.
Councillor McLaughlin commented that whilst she endorsed the report she was not entirely convinced that this was the most accurate mechanism to apply in terms of job creation throughout the City and District.
Councillor Cooper referred to the impending City Deal funding and the need for Council to lobby central government and Invest NI for increased resources and power to promote the North West.
Councillor McCann concurred with the previous speakers. He added that the job announcement figures could be misleading and somewhat aspirational and required more clarity as to the exact number of jobs created throughout the City and District.
The Head of Business in response to Members advised that it was a competitive scenario in terms of provision of accurate figures from the various companies. He added that the most accurate process was to review the NISRA and unemployment rate since 2015, that reflected a significant reduction in unemployment figures.
Councillor McCann referred to the human rights situation in China factories and in particular the treatment of the Weigao people which was concerning. He asked were possible that Officers relay the concerns when in discussions with key representatives of the global business market.
Recommended that Members i) note the range of investment service and international relations activities and associated outputs. ii) approve the programme of activities for the coming financial year 2019/2020. Iii) that Council writes to the Department and Invest NI to request increased resources and power to promote the North West in light of impending City Deal funding.