The Conservatives’ favoured think tank, Policy Exchange, today recommended “There is no realistic prospect that our regeneration towns and cities can converge with London and the South East. There is, however, a very real prospect of encouraging significant numbers of people to move from those towns to London and the South East.” The regeneration towns in question are, for example, Liverpool and Sunderland.
Whilst the report has generated lots of headlines with David Cameron describing it as “insane” it has had one positive impact by triggering a discussion on regional development and urban regeneration.
In Northern Ireland towns West of the Bann and Derry / Londonderry have historically been ignored in favour of Belfast.
Recommending people from Derry move to London is plainly daft with society moving towards a knowledge based digital economy.
Now is the time to develop all of Northern Ireland and stop the environmental consequences arising from the daily commute done by many people from Omagh, Bangor, Enniskillen, Lisburn and Derry to Belfast.
The NI Executive can take a lead and start decentralising government from Belfast to other areas across Northern Ireland.