Wed 3rd Jul 2013
SDLP leader outlines plans for jobs and the economy
15 April 2011
SDLP leader and South Down MP Margaret Ritchie today outlined her party’s plans for jobs and the economy in the run-up to the election on May 5th. Ms Ritchie was taking part in the third of the ‘5 Leaders, 5 Days’ series, a programme of events organised by the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce at which each party leader in the Assembly will outline their plans for jobs, growth and the economy. She addressed 50 members of the business community at law firm McGrigors in Belfast.
Today’s event followed addresses this week and last week by DUP leader Peter Robinson and Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness. Ulster Unionist and Alliance Party Assembly leaders Tom Elliot and David Ford will address business audiences at events to be held next week. Ms Ritchie was joined by Richard Gray, a partner in the Corporate Team of McGrigors LLP, and Northern Ireland Chamber President Francis Martin.
Speaking at this morning’s event, SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie said:
“This is a time for ideas and determined action on the economy. We must drop all of the old ideological baggage and conventional wisdoms. We must genuinely start to rebalance: In the short term this means streamlining the public sector and creating jobs in the private sector. In the medium term it means bringing in much more foreign investment. And in the long-term it means taking control of more economic levers, so that we can cease to be so dependent on subsidy from others.”
Speaking after today’s event, Francis Martin, President of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, commented:
“As we approach the final weeks of the campaign, the challenge of delivering improved economic growth and increased employment has become centre stage in the election. Planned reductions in public spending means that the private sector must fill the gap and increase employment levels. We can achieve this through reduced corporation taxes and the introduction of Enterprise Zones which will ensure that local businesses receive the support they need and that Northern Ireland can attract higher levels of international investment.
“The ongoing series of addresses by each of the party leaders makes it clear to our members what their plans are if they’re elected. The ‘5 Leaders, 5 Days’ series of events has provided an unprecedented platform both for party leaders and the business community to engage on the issues affecting jobs and growth.
“Today’s event is the third in the ‘5 Leaders, 5 Days series and we look forward to the economic debate evolving as we hear from the UUP and Alliance leaders,’ he added.
Speaking after today’s event, Richard Gray, Corporate Partner of McGrigors said:
“We are delighted to host this morning’s event, the third in the series of ‘5 Leaders, 5 Days’ events which has allowed the business community to engage with our political leaders on their plans for economic growth. McGrigors has a long established track record of working with businesses in Northern Ireland and we see the next few years as a crucial period for the region to ensure economic growth, increase competitiveness and create more jobs.”
The next 5 Leaders, 5 Days event will see UUP leader Tom Elliot addressing business leaders at BDO on Monday, April 18th. The final event sees Alliance leader David Ford speaking at Grafton Employment Group on Wednesday, April 20th.
Read Margaret Ritchie’s speech online at http://northernirelandchamber.com/Content.aspx?nSectionId=1&nSubSectionId=10&nContentId=772 or watch on YouTube at www.youtube.com/NIChamber