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The Londonderry Chamber of Commerce has made its submission to the Department of Finance and Personnel in relation to the draft Budget.

The Londonderry Chamber of Commerce has made its submission to the Department of Finance and Personnel in relation to the draft Budget.

The Chamber has urged the Executive to reverse its proposed cuts to the higher and further education sectors and instead to increase funding for Northern Ireland's universities and colleges.  Chamber Chief Executive Sinead McLaughlin called on ministers to recognise the importance of enhanced skills to achieve the objective of improving economic performance in Northern Ireland. Specifically, she said, it is essential that funding is secured for the expansion of Ulster University's Magee campus, in line with the One Plan and the just submitted business case.

Road connections between Derry and both Belfast and Dublin are also essential priorities, said the Chamber in it's submission.

"Serious consideration must be given to regional balance therefore we would endorse the investment in key infrastructural projects in order to help support our economy," wrote Chamber chief executive Sinead McLaughlin.  "Northern Ireland needs to put economic reform to the fore, the North West region is under performing on a number of levels and if we continue to do what we have always done – then expect more of the same. It is time for leadership."