New economy minister signals no change in policy direction

New economy minister Paul Frew.

NEW DUP economy minister Paul Frew has signalled no intention of changing policy direction from his ousted predecessor Diane Dodds.

In his first ministerial statement, Mr Frew said he would continue with the action plans and policy papers developed under Ms Dodds.

It's also understood that former DUP MLA Alastair Ross will stay in his post as special adviser to the new minister.

Paul Frew paid tribute yesterday to Diane Dodds for her work and dedication during what he said had been a truly unprecedented economic crisis.

“Without the support packages the department put in place under her leadership, the business landscape would be in a considerably worse position,” he said.

In a statement that could have easily been written for his predecessor, Mr Frew said he would prioritise the £287 million Economic Recovery Action Plan (ERAP), including the High Street Stimulus and Holiday at Home Voucher schemes.

He also listed the Tourism Recovery Action Plan and the ‘10X Economy' strategy, which Diane Dodds described as ‘her vision' when it was launched in May.

The new minister said he will also progress the sister 10x skills and trade strategies and continue with the work on a new energy strategy for Northern Ireland, which had been advanced under Diane Dodds.

Mr Frew confirmed that he will undertake a period of “extensive engagement” over the coming weeks with the business community and further and higher education sector.

“My message is clear – Northern Ireland is once again open for business, open for investment and open for visitors,” he added.

“Let's work together to build a prosperous economy for the benefit of everyone.”

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