Belfast Telegraph

Business groups want Executive to 'show more ambition' on economy

By David Elliot

A grouping of some of the most influential business bodies in Northern Ireland said the Programme for Government (PfG) needs to show more urgency on driving the economy here.

The Business Alliance said that there is plenty of common ground on the actions the Executive should take but that it needs to show "a higher level of ambition, and a demonstration that there will be an urgency and focus on delivery of key economic commitments".

The group, made up of the CBI, the Centre for Competitiveness, the Institute of Directors and the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, also said the PfG should include a more ambitious and comprehensive export strategy, a plan to ensure corporation tax is devolved by the summer and should ensure sufficient finance is available to support small and medium-sized enterprises.

"Achieving a growth in jobs is essential to restoring confidence, but that will only be achieved if we ensure there is a sufficient flow of different types of finance to our small and medium-sized companies," CBI Northern Ireland chairman, Ian Coulter, said.

And Centre for Competitiveness chairman, Stephen Kingon, said corporation tax remains a big issue.

"With Northern Ireland facing the prospect of losing Regional Aid status at the end of 2013 the Executive needs to push hard to achieve the devolution of corporation tax."

Institute of Directors' chairman, Mervyn McCall, called for government to work together.

"Across the whole Executive there must be a joined-up approach to delivering economic growth, and ensuring that all government decisions are 'economy proofed'."

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