Caterpillar Investment Welcomed
Manufacturing Northern Ireland is delighted by the news of this investment by Caterpillar in Northern Ireland. It is testament to the hard work of the management team led by Robert Kennedy and the quality of the workforce. The investment proves that despite the challenges of location, we can be cost competitive on a European and global scale.
Where a company invests its capital is really important. The decision to invest large, multi-million pounds sums isn’t an easy call. It is a long term commitment to a site, its employees and the community in which they are based. Caterpillar’s decision clearly demonstrates the company’s commitment in the long term and that manufacturing has a strong future in Northern Ireland which must be nurtured.
All the recent good economic news points to a recovery which is being led, both in GDP and in employment, by manufacturing. We know that right across Northern Ireland there are increasing orders books and jobs waiting to be filled. The recovery is, however, still brittle and we would encourage the Executive to invest to ensure that Northern Ireland manufacturing can prosper. This includes a focus on keeping manufacturing competitive whether this be in industrial rates, energy cost or labour policies.
We are working with the Utility Regulator, DETI Minister and Committee on the cost of energy, particularly electricity. Equally, we are pleased that the Finance Minister has committed the Executive to keeping Industrial Rates, a taxation on space, low for manufacturing. This is important work which will ensure that Northern Ireland’s economy can thrive and we get people back into work. Indeed, we believe that the Executive can create conditions which makes Northern Ireland the most cost competitive region in Europe to invest and create employment. It has been a difficult few years for Caterpillar and its local employees but today’s news really shows that a quality workforce in a business friendly environment can succeed and we wish them every success in the future.