Alliance Assembly Enterprise Spokesperson Sean Neeson has said parties must show responsibility and take on the job of managing the local economy – or be responsible for the collapse of the local manufacturing industry.
Speaking at a manufacturing rally at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, the East Antrim Assembly member will say: “Northern Ireland manufacturing has been the cornerstone of our private sector for decades and, lest anyone tell you otherwise, our manufacturing firms continue to be world beaters.
“However, far from assisting the sector to develop, Government is threatening our companies’ competitive edge by introducing industrial rates which are not payable elsewhere on the island of Ireland.
“Already burdened by higher corporation tax, a less vocational education system and political instability, our manufacturers will be faced with the dire choice of relocating any growth outside Northern Ireland. For a Government allegedly committed to boosting the local private sector so Northern Ireland can pay its way, this is suicide.
“But it is not good enough for our local parties just to moan about this. They had the opportunity to take clear action during the last Assembly, but the four-party Executive did not do so. They have the opportunity now once again to do something about it. The chance for a functioning Assembly or, at least, for all-party agreement on finance and the economy cannot be missed.
“If the parties that failed to do anything about this last time fail once again to take this opportunity, the thousands of workers whose jobs in industry are subsequently placed at risk should ensure they show them what they think at the next election.
“It is up to us – let us get on with the job.”