Wed 15th Feb 2017
Ulster Unionist Leader outlines plans for jobs and the economy
Ulster Unionist Leader Mike Nesbitt pictured with NI Chamber Chief Executive Ann McGregor, Jorge Lopes, Country Director at Diageo and NI Chamber President Nick Coburn. The Ulster Unionist Leader was speaking at the second event of the ‘5 Leaders, 5 Days’ series – a programme of events organised by the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) at which the party leader from five main political parties will outline their plans for jobs, growth and the economy.
Ulster Unionist Leader Mike Nesbitt today (Wednesday 15 February 2017) outlined his plans for jobs and the economy to leading members of the Northern Ireland business community ahead of the forthcoming election.
The Ulster Unionist Leader was speaking at the second event of the ‘5 Leaders; 5 Days’ series, a programme of events organised by the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) at which the party leader from five main political parties outline their plans for jobs, growth and the economy.
Today’s event followed yesterday’s address by the DUP leader Arlene Foster and will be followed by a further three events over the next week at which the SDLP, Sinn Fein and Alliance Party leaders will address business audiences.
Ulster Unionist Leader, Mike Nesbitt, said:
“My first role as a MLA was as my party’s Economy spokesperson, a role I loved, not least as my family history is as traders in Belfast city centre.
“Politicians are not wealth generators – you are. So what would be different on an Ulster Unionist watch would be an Executive prepared to listen and have a concordant approach to growing the economy. Representative groups like NI Chamber know how to make the economy work.
“We believe in free trade, a light touch government with minimum regulation, and policy levers that encourage successful businesses to reinvest their profits in growth, be that through Corporation Tax, Rates, NIC, Enterprise Zones, tax credits and the rest.
“Listening to wealth generators is how you create jobs and yield the taxes that fund excellence in our public services.
“In a post Brexit world, we must have clear demands of the UK Government, including a step change in infrastructure investment and education and skills.
“Above all, we need the new electricity interconnector with the Republic and the I-SEM. Otherwise, as SONI makes clear, some may celebrate Northern Ireland’s Centenary by candlelight.
“We prioritise Energy Policy and hope to publish a new, imaginative but robust policy within days.”
Speaking after today’s event, Nick Coburn, President of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said:
“Reducing energy costs and a secure supply of electricity are key priorities for our members, this is why we very much welcome the support for the delivery of the North South Interconnector.
“This is an essential piece of infrastructure which will allow the all-island electricity market to do what it was designed to do – achieve savings for all consumers North and South; this has real value to business.
“Importantly too the interconnector will provide security of supply for Northern Ireland, giving confidence to local industry and foreign direct investors.
“It is a critical time for the project, with the Public Inquiry due to begin next week; we all need to be aware of the benefits it will deliver and the serious consequences we would face without it.”
The next ‘5 Leaders; 5 Days’ event will see SDLP leader Colum Eastwood address an audience at Belfast’s Mount Charles office on Friday 17 February. Sinn Fein leader Michelle O’Neill will speak at Magherafelt’s Bloc Blinds on Wednesday 22 February and Alliance leader Naomi Long will conclude the series at Lisburn’s Boomer Industries on Friday 24 February.