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Private sector needs local government help

By Lindsay Fergus

If the latest forecast from Northern Bank is correct, the Northern Ireland economy will not reach pre-recession levels until the second half of 2012.

That means it will have taken four-and-a-half years for the province to have emerged from the impact of the economic downturn.

Northern Ireland is by no means alone in such hardship but with the smallest private sector in the UK, the region has borne the brunt of the suffering.

With local businesses not expected to achieve pre-recession output levels for more than two years, that will have a knock-on effect on employment levels, consumer spending and overall demand for goods and services.

The challenge, therefore, is for local government, especially considering the current funding constraints on Invest Northern Ireland, to find other means of assisting the growth |of the private sector in the immediate future.

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