Business

Invest NI performance curtailed by new EU rules

Invest NI expects to promote 6,000 jobs this year

THE number of jobs promoted by Invest Northern Ireland is expected to drop significantly to around 6,000 this year, the body has said.

The figure has rocketed in recent years - reaching 13,785 in 2014-15 - but will dip as a result of new European rules restricting the type of projects that can attract government funding.

However, Invest NI said it is still well ahead of its Programme for Government target - initially set at promoting 25,000 jobs over five years but since revised upwards.

Invest NI's chief executive Alastair Hamilton said: “Our revised target is now 41,000, and with just six months to go we are on track to exceed this too.

“These new jobs have been in a range of sectors including food, manufacturing, legal, business and financial services, and across every council area. Our support for jobs has helped generate nearly £3bn of investment in the local economy.

“In total, since 2011, we have made over 20,800 offers of support to businesses, 93 per cent of which were to locally owned companies. These offers have translated into over £650m of assistance.

“As well as providing support to create new jobs, we also help companies undertake R&D and invest in skills to improve the efficiency of their business. This support has resulted in a significant investment of a further £730m in the economy.”

Invest NI said there had been a number of changes impact the support it can give that had come into affect since the start of the Programme for Government period.

Responsibility for supporting entrepreneurship and elements of local economic development has transferred to the new local council structures while EU restrictions limit the support available to large company expansions; and the Jobs Fund scheme has concluded.

“These changes over the last 18 months have altered the landscape of what Invest NI can leverage through its support. I am therefore really encouraged to see that, when comparing like for like across the Programme for Government period, we are on track to deliver another strong performance again this year,” added Mr Hamilton.

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