Sat 6th Jul 2013
NI Chamber of Commerce Heseltine Review Comment
Commenting on Lord Heseltine’s independent review of competitiveness, Ann McGregor MBE, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce (NICC), said:
“Lord Heseltine’s analysis of the state of the UK economy is compelling. Businesses will welcome his call for steady, long-term thinking to improve economic performance.
However Heseltine’s prescription for action focuses too much on institutions, rather than on the fundamental barriers to business growth. A focus should first be put on the key constraints facing the real economy: the availability of growth finance, practical help for our exporters, our creaking physical infrastructure, and an education and training system that responds to business needs.
For example Lord Heseltine argues that Britain’s competitors have a more systematic, joined-up approach to exporting and international trade, involving both government and business organisations. This is a critical issue for our global competitiveness, and why we are working actively with local businesses to provide exporters with the best possible support to break into new markets. Export First, a Northern Ireland Chamber initiative, connects experienced exporters with new exporters and has already assisted 200 businesses in its six month pilot phase.
We welcome the fact that Lord Heseltine has recognised that Chambers of Commerce are local, resilient, independent, internationally-focused and pro-active in their communities. We are pleased that he believes Chambers can continue to play a central part in making local growth happen.”