Sat 6th Jul 2013
Lord Reid: ‘Urgency required for economic and social challenges’
Former NI Secretary of State addresses NI Chamber’s Annual Lunch
The Rt Hon Lord John Reid, former Northern Ireland Secretary of State, addressed the Northern Ireland business community on the economic and political “challenges of change” currently faced by society.
Lord Reid was addressing over 450 guests at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce Annual Lunch, sponsored by BT, which took place in the Grand Ballroom of the Ramada Plaza hotel, Shaw’s Bridge on Friday 10 June 2011. Also speaking at the event was the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Arlene Foster, who was presented with a Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce Award for Excellence.
Speaking this afternoon, Francis Martin, President of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, said:
“Today’s lunch takes place at what is a crossroads for the Northern Ireland economy. The UK Treasury consultation on corporation tax closes on June 24th and we would urge all companies to respond to the paper and send a clear message to the Treasury that, yes, Northern Ireland does support the devolution of corporation tax powers. A reduction in corporation tax is the radical intervention required to kick-start and grow the Northern Ireland economy and business organisations are united in support of such a reduction, as campaigns such GROW NI have proved.
“The Chamber’s Annual Lunch is always one of the most popular dates in the Northern Ireland business calendar and it was an honour and privilege to welcome Lord Reid as our guest speaker. Lord Reid has held more ministerial posts at Cabinet level than any other politician in recent history and is currently a Senior Advisor to a number of major commercial companies, he is therefore ideally placed to provide local business leaders with a unique insight into the enduring economic, fiscal and political changes facing Northern Ireland.
“The NI Chamber has often stressed the need for business leaders and the Assembly to work closely together to help navigate a course through the challenging economic landscape and, in that regard, we were delighted to have the DETI Minister, Arlene Foster, address the business audience. It was with great pleasure that I presented the Minister with the Chamber’s Award for Excellence, which recognises individuals who have made a special contribution to the Northern Ireland economy – something which the Minister has done through her unstinting passion and commitment for improving Northern Ireland.”
Speaking after today’s event, Lord Reid said:
“Ten years have passed since I first arrived in Northern Ireland as Secretary of State. The changes within the region in the intervening decade are very welcome and I think they stand as a monument to what can be achieved when politicians commit themselves to working together constructively. It is heartening to see a fully stable Executive and Assembly finally in place, and getting on with the job of creating a better Northern Ireland which makes tangible difference to the lives of people here.
“There are now economic and social challenges which need to be addressed and I urge political leaders locally to apply the same urgency and commitment to those everyday issues that they brought to the task of realising a stable and functioning Assembly.”
Speaking at the event, Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster, said:
“We must continue our efforts to rebuild and rebalance the Northern Ireland economy following what has been a sustained global downturn. This year I launched a consultation on the priorities for a new Economic Strategy and it is proposed that the overall focus will be on export-led growth. A globally competitive economy in Northern Ireland will generate more wealth and, in turn, create more new job opportunities.
“I believe reduced corporation tax would be an important lever in our tool-kit to grow the economy, especially to attract value added Foreign Direct Investment and to encourage Research & Development, Innovation and training.”
Lord Reid has served in leadership across a range of security-related portfolios in the UK Government including Home Secretary, Defence Secretary, Minister for Transport and Armed Forces Minister. Following almost a quarter of a century as a Member of Parliament, Dr Reid was honoured with a nomination to the UK Upper Chamber as a Member of the House of Lords.
He is a Principal of the Chertoff Group and is presently Hon Professor and Chair of the Institute for Security and Resilience Studies at University College London and the Chairman of Glasgow Celtic FC.
More videos from the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce 2011 Annual Lunch can be viewed on the Chamber’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/nichamber