The Chairman of the Institute of Directors, Northern Ireland Division, says the Northern Ireland Executive must “get serious about backing businesses” and establish a £250 million fund to aid business growth.
Mervyn McCall addressed business leaders at the IoD NI Annual Dinner in the Europa Hotel and said “a fund of this size would demonstrate the Government is resolute in encouraging local companies.”
He added that it would also attract support from the European Investment Bank who has indicated they would co-finance a fund of this size. He said:
“The money needs to cover all aspects of our economy - high-tech start ups, budding entrepreneurs, first time exporters and established businesses requiring funding for growth and working capital.
“I don’t believe it’s possible for the banks to begin lending again on the scale required anytime soon and we can’t wait for the next initiative from No 11.
“To date, none of George Osborne’s programmes have had any effect on businesses in Northern Ireland. We need a local solution.
“The Department of Finance and Personnel, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and Invest NI have implemented some good initiatives which are helping growth but they are just not enough.”
Mervyn McCall told directors the Northern Ireland economy needed an export-focused business community with the attitude to match, a business friendly environment and low business taxes.
Guest speaker at the event was Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of Iron Maiden.