Belfast Telegraph

Minister Lord Green's tribute to Northern Ireland's vibrant economy

by clare weir

Northern Ireland is fast becoming a modern economy, able to compete with the rest of the world in a number of 'vibrant' sectors, says the UK's Minister of State for Trade and Investment.

Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint was speaking during a visit to Northern Ireland. He visited the Centre for Secure Information Technologies at Queens University, the Heritage fund management firm, Fast Engineering in Antrim and Wrightbus in Ballymena.

He also met with creative industries companies including NI Screenand Doubleband Films.

"Northern Ireland is doing well in a broad range of activities," he said. "Obviously it is an area which has to play catch up because of the much heavier amount of public spending, but I am seeing real improvements.

"Northern Ireland has a long manufacturing tradition and it is brilliant to visit companies like Fast Engineering, which is assisting victims of the Philippines typhoon, and Wrightbus, which makes the buses I ride around on in London, but also to visit universities and the creative industries companies.

"Clever tax incentives which make it attractive for companies to use Northern Ireland as a filming base have helped attract companies like HBO, which can offer many global connections and contacts, and the knock on effect for the growing tourism industry also shows a lot of potential."

He added that Invest NI and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) work very closely together to optimise opportunities.

"What is also very important is the connectivity and collaboration between Queen's University and the University of Ulster, and their connectivity to businesses, which is much more apparent than in some other regions.

"The start-ups and spin-outs coming out of both universities are fantastic. We must look forward and Northern Ireland is showing more and more signs of becoming a modern economy and such links between universities and businesses are a very important part of that process."

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