Tue 3rd Dec 2019
UUP leader outlines plans for jobs and the economy
UUP leader Steve Aiken today (Tuesday 3 December 2019) outlined his plans for jobs and the economy to leading members of the Northern Ireland business community ahead of the forthcoming election.
The UUP leader was speaking at the latest event in the ‘5 Leaders; 5 Days’ series, a programme organised by the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber), at which the party leaders from five main political parties outline their plans for jobs, growth and the economy.
Today’s event followed recent addresses from SDLP leader, Colm Eastwood, Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill and Alliance leader Naomi Long.
Addressing an audience of local business people in Pinsent Masons, Belfast, Dr. Aiken said:
“This is the most important general election facing the United Kingdom in generations. The MPs elected on December 12th will have a pivotal role in shaping the UK’s future economic course for many decades to come.
“It is essential that Northern Ireland returns the maximum number of MPs that will take their seats and use their votes to reject Boris Johnson’s harmful Brexit Deal.
“Businesses are at the heart of any successful economy, and that is especially the case here in Northern Ireland. Worryingly the economic output is still 4.2% below peak 2007 levels, compared to the overall UK GDP average which is 12.9% higher. That productivity deficit, along with the obvious skills gap, must be closed in order to fully support the local economy.
“My Party wants to do that by taking proactive decisions such as opening up the Apprenticeship level to local employers, lifting the cap on student numbers, and introducing new concessionary VAT rates for key trades such as the construction and tourism industries.”
Ian Henry, Vice-President of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, added:
“On behalf of NI Chamber, I’d like to thank Dr Aiken for joining us this morning. He addressed key issues including developing entrepreneurship, addressing skills and retaining talent, all of which are of central importance to our members. Today was an opportunity for them to take their questions to the UUP leader in what was a very insightful session for all.”
The 5 Leaders; 5 Days series will conclude with DUP Party Leader Arlene Foster who will address businesses on 6 December.