Trade NI, the alliance of three of the largest sectors of industry and the majority of businesses in Northern Ireland, has launched their Westminster General Election manifesto with an appeal to create the conditions for a rapid growth in the local economy, leading to more wealth and work being created in every constituency.
Hospitality Ulster, Manufacturing NI and Retail NI outline how a rebooting of the local economy through enhanced productivity by investing in education and skills, supported by responsible consumption and production; competitiveness provided by a supportive environment for doing business; infrastructure which supports local, national and international connectivity; and, revitalised communities where people want to live, work and visit.
Colin Neill, Stephen Kelly and Glyn Roberts from Trade NI said:
“The first priority for the next government is to see the risk of a no-deal Brexit eliminated and to bring certainty and clarity to our most important trading relationships. Government has promised frictionless trade and that should be delivered as promised. To do this, there is a need for regulatory alignment, access to labour and a lengthy transition period that allows business time to adapt to change”
“We need to ensure sustainable funding for Skills, fix the failing Apprenticeship Levy and create a credible vocational route for young people. A rethink of UK immigration policy to provide business with the vital skills set is a major priority for any incoming UK Government”
“Other key areas of our manifesto include cutting the cost of energy for businesses, radical rates’ reform to encourage investment in growth and a concerted effort to stop cybercrime”
Finally, with one eye to the potential return of the NI Executive, Trade NI is calling for greater levels of economic devolution to meet the needs of our local business and community.
The alliance concluded:
“Together our sectors account for a high proportion of economic outputs and more than 293,000 jobs. This is a significant contribution to the economy and to the fortunes of communities across Northern Ireland. However, we want to do more and we hope that a new Government and Parliament will create the conditions that allow these ambitions to be met”.