She argued chronic unemployment levels in Londonderry do not follow from a lack of effort by Invest NI.
“The assertion that less jobs are promoted in areas which have higher rates of unemployment is not valid. For example, the Foyle constituency has a relatively high rate of claimant count compared to the Northern Ireland average, but has also received the third highest number of jobs assisted by Invest NI during the past five years,” she stated.
The Minister also pointed to Newry and Armagh, which also has relatively high rates of unemployment, but is ranked fourth out of the eighteen parliamentary constituency Areas in Northern Ireland in terms of jobs supported by Invest NI.
“During the past five years almost 60 per cent of new jobs supported by Invest NI were located in areas of economic disadvantage - areas which account for around 30 per cent of the Northern Ireland population.
“Invest NI assistance has tended to reflect the concentration of companies in and around our main towns and cities. It is important for our economic growth that companies must be able to locate where they believe they can operate most profitably,” she added.