Belfast Telegraph

Selling Belfast Harbour Estate short-sighted, politicians told

By Clare Weir

Selling the Belfast Harbour Estate would be "short-sighted", according to the head of the Northern Ireland Science Park.

Dr Norman Apsley said that while the Science Park, as a tenant of the estate, would be neutral, in a personal capacity he thinks that a sell-off, proposed as a means of paying for the much-heralded cut to the region's corporation tax rate, would be "a mistake".

"To sell a profitable asset and one which is so critical for the Northern Ireland economy for what cannot be more than two years of the cost of corporation tax sounds a bit short-sighted," he said.

"We surely want to weld all our economic assets into an effective, purposeful machine, to take advantage of the global opportunities our geography and our entrepreneurs are revealing, together with corporation tax, if we get the right deal done, to build the 21st century economy we all want, in a manner that is fair to all."

As well as the Science Park, the Harbour Estate is home to George Best Belfast City Airport, Harland & Wolff, Bombardier, the Odyssey, Titanic Quarter and Titanic Belfast.

More than 700 firms employing around 21,000 people are located within the Estate.

Meanwhile, Dr Apsley also hailed the results of the Research Excellence Framework for 2014 which showed that over 70% of research being carried out in Northern Ireland universities was "world leading" or "internationally excellent". The Research Excellence Framework, which assesses the quality and impact of UK higher education institutions' research, is also used to allocate £2bn in research funding across the UK.

NISP works with Queen's and the University of Ulster to commercialise academic research.

Belfast Telegraph