Trade NI launches election manifesto with call for new MPs to help create growth in all 18 constituencies

Glyn Roberts, Retail NI; Colin Neill, Hospitality Ulster; and Stephen Kelly, Manufacturing NI. Picture by Kelvin Boyes
Ryan McAleer

AN alliance of industry bodies in the north has called on Westminster candidates to help create growth, wealth and work in all 18 constituencies.

Trade NI is the lobby group set up by Hospitality Ulster, Manufacturing NI and Retail NI.

Presenting its own business manifesto ahead of the December 12 general election, the groups have joined their voices to appeal for a reboot of the local economy.

Its list of demand include enhancing productivity by investing in education and skills, supported by responsible consumption and production; bolstering competitiveness by providing a supportive environment for doing business; and improving infrastructure, which it said supports local, national and international connectivity.

Trade NI has also said creating revitalised communities will produce places where people want to live, work and visit.

In joint statement, Colin Neill of Hospitality Ulster, Stephen Kelly of Manufacturing NI and Glyn Roberts from Retail NI said: “The first priority for the next government is to see the risk of a no-deal Brexit eliminated and to bring certainty and clarity to our most important trading relationships.

“Government has promised frictionless trade and that should be delivered as promised. To do this, there is a need for regulatory alignment, access to labour and a lengthy transition period that allows business time to adapt to change.

“We need to ensure sustainable funding for skills, fix the failing apprenticeship levy and create a credible vocational route for young people.”

The industry chiefs also called for a rethink of UK immigration policy to ensure businesses in the north have the skilled staff they need.

The Trade NI is also calling for cuts to the cost of energy for businesses, “radical rates reform”, and “a concerted effort to stop cybercrime”.

The bodies also said for greater levels of economic devolution to a restored Assembly would help meet the needs of businesses and the community.

“Together our sectors account for a high proportion of economic outputs and more than 293,000 jobs,” continued the joint statement.

“This is a significant contribution to the economy and to the fortunes of communities across Northern Ireland. “However, we want to do more and we hope that a new government and Parliament will create the conditions that allow these ambitions to be met.”

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