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New Economy Minister Lyons looking to bring forward high street support scheme


Economy Minister Gordon Lyons. Presseye.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons. Presseye.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons. Presseye.

New Economy Minister Gordon Lyons says he will “bring to fruition” the £145m high street, and holiday and home schemes as businesses recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The East Antrim MLA was making his first statement after taking over from Paul Frew, who held the role for a matter of weeks.

New DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson appointed Mr Lyons as Economy Minister on Tuesday - his only ministerial change since taking over from Edwin Poots.

Mr Frew, who replaced Diane Dodds, was elevated to the role by the then party leader Mr Poots.

The new Economy Minister said the role has become even more crucial as Northern Ireland recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“My predecessors over the last 18 months have delivered more than £500million of support to businesses of all kinds and set out the way ahead in the short term through the £287million Economic Recovery Action Plan (ERAP),” said Mr Lyons.

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“I thank them for their work during this difficult period and for laying sound foundations for future success. I aim to continue their good work.

“Under the ERAP, I will bring to fruition the £145million High Street Scheme and Holiday at Home Scheme, to support our retail, leisure and tourism sectors, as well as local households.

“But more than that, I will progress my Department’s 10X Economic Vision which details how, through a focus on innovation, we can make Northern Ireland one of the world’s leading small economies.”

Mr Lyons added that through the 10X skills strategy, he aims to make lifelong learning a culture where people can upskill and reskill so they are equipped for the current and future job market.

He added: “While we have made good progress in the recovery, I know there is much work still to do. But I believe we can look ahead with optimism.

“Our business community has shown levels of creativity and resilience that give me great confidence that Northern Ireland is forging a path to a positive economic future.”

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