The increase in VAT, cuts to benefits and the freezing of public service pay were all topics for discussion at today’s Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust Breakfast. Minister for Finance and Personnel, Sammy Wilson was on hand this morning to give members of the Business Trust a run down on the main aspects of the Government’s Spending Review and what it will mean in real terms to the people of Northern Ireland.
As well as the inevitable harsh facts on the cuts to come, the Minister spoke positively about the challenges ahead and the innovative ways revenue could be raised, including the new plastic bags tax which should see a raise in revenue of approximately £4 million.
The event was well attended by over 60 trust members from businesses across the Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust breakfast briefings are held on the second Tuesday of every month. Take a look at the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust (NIABT) website for more information – niabt.org – or follow them on twitter.com/niabt.
For further information on today’s event, why not listen to our audio boo interviews with the Minister, Chairperson of the NIABT Sean Neeson MLA and Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) and Business Trust Member Glyn Roberts.
With the current gloomy news on the economy, talk of possible job losses and cutbacks to public services, Invest NI’s Chief Executive, Alastair Hamilton sent out a positive and hopeful message today of significant growth in foreign investment to Northern Ireland and a marked increase in job creation.
Recent good news stories such as the investment by the American Banking conglomerate CITI will see the introduction of 501 new jobs. Alasdair was quick to point out that many new investors are attracted by the positive business environment and the skilled workforce available here.
Today’s briefing saw the Long Gallery packed with successful local business representatives, high profile journalists and MLAs including the Chair of the Assembly’s Enterprise Trade and Investment Committee, Alban Maginness MLA.
Today’s presentation was followed by a lively discussion on issues such as the possibility of greater economic cooperation with Europe and the often thorny and controversial subject of corporation tax.
Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust breakfast briefings are held on the second Tuesday of every month. Take a look at the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust website for more information – niabt.org – or follow them on Twitter.