MNI Call on parties to "find a way"
MANUFACTURING NI LAUNCH DRIVE TO BUILD PARTNERSHIP WITH GOVERNMENT, CALLING ON POLITICAL PARTIES TO ‘FIND A WAY’
Manufacturing Northern Ireland today held an event at Stormont to celebrate the achievements and diversity of the manufacturing sector and called on the parties about to enter into negotiations on the future of power sharing here to ‘find a way’ towards stability and progress.
Speaking as he thanked the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell for his continued and active support for the sector, 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 central to their considerations during this challenging time.
“Our call is for a partnership between government and business. Our politicians need to create the conditions for growth through agreement on the current difficult issues and a stable environment in which business can create wealth and work. We must find a way.
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”.
Manufacturing NI launched a short list of action which would secure an industrial base which in turn contributes more to the NI economy. Its centrepiece is a new cross cutting Manufacturing Strategy and a commitment to securing industrial de-rating, competitive energy costs and investment in skills, infrastructure and an alignment of employment law with GB.
“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. We believe that they can, and they must find a way and in turn manufacturers will employ more, export more and contribute more.”
The event had been arranged as a celebration of the manufacturing sector, with many local companies improving their turnover and landing new contract across the world.
“Despite coming through the worst economic downturn in a century, manufacturing generates annual sales of over £19 billion, and directly employs some eighty thousand people, an average of over 4,400 per constituency or around 1 in 5 families relying on a manufacturing wage. Indeed, after Retail and Health and Social Services, manufacturing represents the 3rd largest employer sector. It should be cherished and celebrated. If we don’t, we run the risk of undermining a critical sector just at the time when it’s getting back on its feet.
“Given the current uncertainty at Stormont, we will now engage in a series of meetings both at Stormont and across Northern Ireland, bringing local manufacturing companies together with local MLAs from all parties, to impress upon the m the opportunities which exist, and the high price of failure to find a way.”