People Before Profit Cllr Shaun Harkin said,
“An individual ticket into what was described as a “major conference” last week about implementing the City Deal cost more than £200+.
Charging more than £200 just to gain entry guarantees the voices of low-paid workers and people on Universal Credit were essentially locked out from being involved in determining how hundreds of millions will be invested.
That sends the message that this is going to be run top-down to exclude the vast majority of people.
However, presenters and attendance was a who’s who of the political establishment from leading Tories to the SDLP, Sinn Féin, DUP Dalradian Gold and Invest NI.
Stormont elites have failed Derry and the North West for decades. As a consequence, tens of thousands of people and families from all communities and backgrounds languish in poverty. Our child poverty rates should be an embarrassment. Young people continue to be forced to leave and never to come back.
We can’t assume there won’t be a carve-up of hundreds of millions in City Deal funding that only benefits elites and the politically connected.
The major parties here, nationalist and unionist, have put the interests of elites ahead of the vast majority of people for decades. It’s no different now. A complete shake-up from top to bottom is the only way we are going to address poverty, inequality and the neglect of the entire North West.”