Belfast Telegraph

New trade alliance launched to support Northern Ireland business

Glyn Roberts, Stephen Kelly and Colin Neill head up Trade NI.
Glyn Roberts, Stephen Kelly and Colin Neill head up Trade NI.

A new trade alliance has been launched aiming to support Northern Ireland businesses' through the current uncertainty with no Stormont Assembly and Brexit looming.

Hospitality Ulster, Manufacturing NI and Retail NI have come together to form Trade NI ahead of 'Northern Ireland day' in Westminster on September 11.

Speaking at their launch event in Belfast on Wednesday the heads of the new group called for the local business community to be part of the event at the House of Commons.

Led by Colin Neill (Hospitality Ulster), Stephen Kelly (Manufacturing NI) and Glyn Roberts (Retail NI), the group said that any incoming Executive must set out to increase the productivity of the workforce, reduce the regulatory burden on business, increase the skills base and deliver a clear economic strategy for Northern Ireland.

The alliance is supported by companies including Heathrow Airport, Danske Bank and Flybe.

The three heads of Trade NI laid out their aims in a joint statement at the launch event.

They said that Trade NI would seek to provide leadership during the "huge economic and political challenges ahead".

“The paralysis that has been created with the lack of an Assembly and Executive has developed a situation where very little has been done to address the needs of our sectors or the economy at large," the statement read.

“The shift of power from Stormont to Westminster means that we must press decision makers there to implement policies and make legislative changes that will help grow Northern Ireland. Our local economy and businesses have taken a back seat and we simply cannot afford that situation any longer.”

“Our three organisations represent most of the businesses that make up private sector jobs in Northern Ireland. Therefore, a louder voice needs to be heard on their behalf so that they don’t suffer in the wake of the local political issues. We want a reboot of the economic policy of Northern Ireland, in order to benefit our economy and safeguard our growing business community.”

The statement said that the new group wanted to build on the success of last year's 'Northern Ireland day' to bring focus to Northern Ireland issues at Westminster.

“The event this year will be used in a time of change and transformation of the government to make sure that Northern Ireland is on the agenda at the highest level, and to make sure we don’t fall by the wayside when it comes to decisions on economic policy. Trade NI will also be launching its ‘Northern Ireland 2040’ document setting out a bold new, long term vision for our economy," the statement read.

“The alliance wants to work with all business organisations, chambers of commerce, trade unions and voluntary sector representation to create a new progressive partnership for change in Northern Ireland.”

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