Said Ms McLaughlin: “The British Government’s approach on European Social Funding is tone deaf to the needs of the North and in particular the needs of our city.
“While the Government claims that the funding it has designed to replace the European Social Fund will help to address economic imbalance, the geographic spread of the funding is almost completely at the whim of Ministers.
“I have been consistently raising that this could result in areas like ours losing out.
“The sub-regional economies of Northern Ireland, like the North-West, deserve a much more sophisticated and targeted approach to addressing the problems we face, including those of persistent low productivity and skills.
“I am firmly of the conviction that it is completely inexcusable that not a penny of the replacement funding will be guaranteed to the North-West.
“The European Social Fund supports more than one hundred jobs within delivery organisations located in our Council area and projects based in Derry are in receipt of almost £2.5m of this funding.
“Every day, these projects help people get back into the labour market and make a hugely consequential impact for our people.
“The shambolic delivery of this replacement scheme means the grassroots community organisations who have been able to operate due to European funding face a cliff edge and risk disappearing altogether.
“When raising these issues, the responses I have received from British Government Ministers lay bare just how little understanding they have of our city or its needs.
“We will continue to lobby for the British Government to realise the failings of this scheme and address them.
“I believe it is now time for the Department for the Economy to step up and make representations on behalf of the many community organisations who are about to lose out, in our city and across the North and will be writing to the Permanent Secretary to make this clear.”Tags: