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Manufacturing NI seeks politicians' opinions for draft manifesto

By Margaret Canning

The body which represents manufacturers in Northern Ireland is travelling the region to discuss how to help the sector. Manufacturing NI is inviting politicians and policymakers to contribute to a draft manifesto.

It is aiming to make Northern Ireland the most competitive region in Europe for manufacturing businesses – and to increase its contribution to GDP from 12.5% to 20%.

The organisation holds its second event at Irwins Bakery in Portadown today after its first roadshow at SDC Trailers in Toome, Co Antrim, yesterday.

The manifesto looks at issues including industrial rates, energy costs, skills and the challenges facing exporters.

Chief executive Stephen Kelly said manufacturers had shown "remarkable strength" in recent years and had been able to weather the storm of the downturn.

"Our manufacturing sector is resourceful and innovative, and much has been achieved, particularly in recent years.

"But times are still hard, and as an organisation, MNI wants to deepen the relationship between our manufacturers and our decision makers."

A full manifesto is due to be published in the autumn.

After today, the next event takes place on August 21 at Fleming Agri in Newbuildings, Co Londonderry.

There will be an event at Hill Engineering in Newry on August 22, while the roadshow pulls up at Bombardier in Belfast on August 25.

The final roadshow takes place on September 5 at Fisher Engineering in Ballinamallard.

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