Finance Minister Simon Hamilton MLA attended a ‘Let’s Talk’ business lunch hosted by the Newry Chamber of Commerce in the Canal Court on Wednesday January 29. Minister Hamilton outlined his plans for Public Centre reform at the lunch which was attended by 100 business delegates and was also interviewed on stage by political correspondent Tom Kelly. Speaking at the meeting Mr Hamilton said: “I am delighted to be in Newry today and wish to take this opportunity to thank the Chamber for organizing this business lunch. Events at this stage are a great opportunity to engage directly with local businesses on matters that are important to you. It is now almost 6 months since I outlined in my first speech as Finance Minister how I wanted to devote a considerable amount of effort during my time in office to reforming our public centre. I have been hugely impressed by the response I have received from the business community, the third sector, trade unions and perhaps most importantly colleagues in the public sector. That need is even more acute now than it was six short months ago. The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s recent comments that we aren’t even half way down the road of austerity and that he envisages a further £25 billion in public spending cuts not only illustrates how tough times are here until at least the end of this decade but should also convince us that reform of are public centre isn’t an option. It’s essential.” President of Newry Chamber of Commerce Deborah Loughran added: “We were delighted to host this important business lunch with one of Northern Ireland’s key decision makers. The on-stage interview with the Minister conducted by political correspondent Tom Kelly provided an insight into the Assembly’s plans for building our economy and gave us a valuable opportunity to press the Minister on key issues affected the greater Newry area and its business community.” The event was generously sponsored by Autoline insurance group. Mr Michael Blaney Managing Director of Autoline Insurance Group said: “As an indigenous Newry company employing over 140 people we value opportunities where we can lend our support to promoting investment in the area and engaging with key stakeholders whose decisions impact a wider economy.
4th February 2014