Belfast Telegraph

Stormont and business must unite, says lobby group MNI

By Staff Reporter

Lobby group Manufacturing NI (MNI) called for a partnership between government and business during a special meeting in Stormont last night.

Stephen Kelly of MNI said that the organisation would be meeting as many MLAs as possible in the coming weeks and months, to ensure that they kept the future economic growth of Northern Ireland uppermost in their minds.

He said the success of manufacturing in Northern Ireland could be measured in how close it comes to achieving the EU target of accounting for 20% of economic output.

Mr Kelly said: "Our call is for a partnership between government and business. 

"Our politicians need to create the conditions for growth through agreement on current difficult issues and a stable environment in which business can create wealth and work. What does success look like? For us, it's about manufacturing achieving the EU target of 20% of the economy.

"This would provide high quality, sustainable and well paid jobs which in turn would transform communities across the province".

He said the lobby group wished to see a clear manufacturing strategy, a commitment to industrial de-rating, competitive energy costs and investment in skills and infrastructure. He said employment law should be aligned with Great Britain, where qualifying periods for employment rights such as qualifying for unfair dismissal have been lengthened.

And he made a strong call for politicians to avoid the re-introduction of Direct Rule.

"Fundamentally, we need local politicians making local decisions for the local economy. A functioning local administration can create the environment for business to survive and thrive."

Belfast Telegraph