Ulster Unionist Economy spokesperson Sandra Overend MLA has called for more collaboration between the Executive and local business in Northern Ireland following the publication of Lord Heseltine’s ‘in search of growth’ report which was commissioned by Downing Street.
Mid-Ulster MLA Mrs Overend said;
‘Lord Heseltine’s report contains 89 recommendations and I believe that the Enterprise Minister here in Northern Ireland needs to study it carefully as it could make an important contribution to current economic policy, not just at Westminster, but right throughout the UK in the three devolved administrations.
The unemployment rate and those claiming unemployment related benefits in Northern Ireland are increasing to the extent that they have now risen above the UK average and we must therefore ensure that our performance improves in order to catch up with the rest of the UK.’
‘I broadly welcome this report as it highlights a number of relevant points. Lord Heseltine says it has been shaped by his belief that in the vast majority of cases, we will only get the very best results if government, business and local leaders work together in partnership. That is the language of the Ulster Unionist Party with a clear theme of our recent Conference being that we are unapologetically pro indigenous business. All too often we hear from businesses who say that government is not engaging and listening to them and that needs to change.’
‘Some of the headlines regarding Lord Heseltine have been focussed around the aim to move £49bn from central government to the regions to help local leaders and businesses promote growth and wealth creation. It is imperative that Northern Ireland is aware of any changes which occur and works with the local business sector to secure that Northern Ireland receives its share of funding. ”