Rising Unemployment and further job losses highlight need for rate cap to continue – NIM
Northern Ireland Manufacturing have said today the news of further job losses combined with rising unemployment figures are grim proof the sector is in extreme need of an extension on the industrial rate cap.
Kilkeel-based B/E Aerospace announced that they would be cutting 88 jobs, reducing their workforce from 651 to 563. The company has struggled like many other manufacturing companies in the recession, and the latest plans for redundancies follow the loss of almost 100 jobs at its Kilkeel plant last November. The engineering company Schlumberger also stated its intention to close 69 posts at its plant in Newtownabbey, County Antrim and did not know how many people faced redundancy.
Chief Executive of NIM, Bryan Gray said that these latest job losses are a complete disaster for Northern Ireland’s manufacturing base and added that the arrival of this years’ reduced industrial rate bill is a reminder of the importance of the 30% rate cap. NIM, who campaigned for the cap in the industrial rate said that members have repeatedly highlighted the importance of the cap in helping them to remain in business during the economic downturn.
“There are 51,000 people now out of work and local unemployment now stands at 6.7%. With news of these job losses and I am sure more to come in the manufacturing industry, these figures clearly show that Northern Ireland is still suffering badly from the current economic climate.
“The Northern Ireland Executive has been criticised for being slow to react to the current downturn, but it was quick off the block when it capped the industrial rate at 30% as part of then Finance Minister Peter Robinson’s first budget. We were grateful for the measure at the time, however it is vital, now more than ever, that the cap, is extended beyond the CSR period.
“We willl continue to fight for the manufacturing sector in Northern Ireland, to retain the 30% rates cap, and to address a range of other areas which have a direct impact on the sector.”