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Executive can no longer hide its head in the sand on manufacturing - Aiken

Steve Aiken OBE MLA, Ulster Unionist Economy spokesperson, and Andy Allen MLA, East Belfast, have reacted to the announcement that Bombardier in Belfast plans to complete 1,080 redundancies previously planned for 2017 within months.

Mr Aiken said:

“The last two days have been very bad news for the economy in Northern Ireland. The announcement from Bombardier today, on top of job losses as a result of the Chain Reaction - Wiggle merger, leaves manufacturing in a very dark place.

“Despite all the talk from the Executive that our economy is on the up, the facts are starting to speak for themselves. These are not isolated events, this is a serious trend of major job losses and signs of a manufacturing industry on its knees. Surely, the Executive must now see that our manufacturing sector needs urgent support and intervention.

“Now more than ever is the time for developing a standalone, bespoke manufacturing strategy for Northern Ireland.”

Mr Allen said:

“This is a devastating blow, not only for the people of Belfast, but for people from all over the province employed with Bombardier. It is very disappointing that despite being given reassurances, job losses are now being brought forward earlier than anticipated. This is the third time the firm has adjusted cuts originally planned for next year. I am deeply concerned for all those effected by the announcement today and I hope that situations like this can be prevented in the future.

“We need immediate action from the Executive as a result of the announcements over the past two days. Otherwise I fear we will see more announcements like this in the future. I would like to see the Department of the Economy, and Invest NI in particular, taking ownership of this issue and do all in their power to minimise the impact of this announcement.

“There must be a long term plan for manufacturing in Northern Ireland, this situation simply cannot go on.”

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