‘We help our members grow through a variety of networking opportunities.’

Minister’s on-point economic message

Members of the business community in Newry must take much of the responsibility for the city’s economic growth. That was among the key messages being delivered to local entrepreneurs by Finance Minister Sammy Wilson when he was welcomed to Newry by its Chamber of Commerce and Trade recently. Thanking the Chamber for its invite the DUP Minister said speaking directly with entrepreneurs is important in giving a real sense of how economic conditions are impacting on the ground. “It’s clear that trading conditions are difficult given the current economic climate. That is why the executive has made rebuilding and rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy goal in the draft Programme for Government (PfG) for 2011-15,” he said. ” We want to restore growth and revert recent rises in unemployment. The PfG sets out the full range of actions we plan to take to achieve this including job promotion, infrastructure investment, skills development and support for Research and Development and innovation.” Referring to Corporation Tax Mr Wilson said the aim is to have powers for varying it devolved to the Assembly,

 which would enable local firms to invest more in their business. “I know this issue is very important to the business community of Newry who are often competing directly with firms from across the border,” he said. “But it is with rate relief that the biggest changes are set to be felt locally with small businesses benefiting. My Department’s analysis suggests that around £675,000 relief could be awarded on over 1,300 properties in the Newry and Mourne District Council area under both the current and the expanded small business rate relief scheme,” he said. And in a characteristically verbose and forthright manner hammered home his message that responsibility for future growth lies not just with government. “There’s too much whinging goes on,” he said. “Stop whining and ask not for what government can do for your area bur what you as entrepreneurs can do for your area. Lobby where lobbying is necessary but also take responsibility yourselves for making your economy work.”


Newry Democrat

7th February 2012