“This week, the Assembly debated the issue of growing small and medium-sized businesses. Northern Ireland has long had a problem of indigenous companies reaching certain levels of growth, then accepting a takeover bid and seeing headquarters and jobs move elsewhere. Yet again, that has happened this week.
“Now we see that one of our main areas for inward investment, aerospace, is subject to a serious slump. It means the ways in which we seek to create jobs and growth will have to change.
“The Executive’s economic strategy had already been made hopelessly outdated by the EU referendum result. That will have a notable impact, particularly on our agri-food sector, whose ability to export will be seriously hindered regardless of what future arrangements are negotiated. A suggestion reform of the common agricultural policy will generate further opportunities for this sector is misguided.
“”That strategy was also dependent on significant boosts to transport infrastructure – but in fact we now see the A5 delayed, a legal challenge to the A6 upgrade and a delay to the crucial York Street Interchange proposal.
“The loss of jobs from previously reliable sectors, the imminent restriction of export markets, and the failure to advance key infrastructure projects all combine to make the current economic strategy almost redundant. It is probably already past time for a completely new one so that the Executive is better prepared to respond to terrible jobs news like we have heard this week.”