North Antrim’s economy, like the rest of the Province, needs a twin-track approach to see it both recover and develop effectively throughout the remainder of this decade, the two North Antrim Ulster Unionist Assembly candidates, Mr Robin Swann and Mr Andrew Wright, have urged.
In their nomination joint statement, the two UUP men said: “If elected, we want to emphasise it is an absolute necessity that the devolved legislative Assembly gets back to work as soon as possible to ensure the continued development of the local economy in the constituency. Clearly, one of the major benefits of long-term and lasting peace in a democratic Northern Ireland will be the chance to develop and advance our local economy.
“But at this point in time, and especially with all the new nations which have joined and are joining the European Union, the Northern Ireland economy is not financially strong enough to survive on international investment alone, or our own local industry alone. It requires a partnership between the local companies and the overseas firms; both working together for the benefit of North Antrim, and ultimately our Province.
It is, therefore, an absolute necessity we get our new Assembly working as soon as possible to ensure that this partnership works effectively and efficiently.”
The pair added: “North Antrim-based companies such as Wrightbus as well as many other smaller companies must be highly praised for their input into the constituency’s economy over the decades.
“However, with the shattering job losses which the North Antrim economy has suffered in recent years, the Assembly must be shifted into top gear to encourage inward investment, not just from the rest of the UK and Europe, but from further afield, especially from the Middle East, Asia and North and South America.”
Mr Swann and Mr Wright added that North Antrim was a shining example where international companies had benefited from the effectiveness of using an Ulster-based workforce.
“This is one of the best attributes which North Antrim can offer any overseas firm interested in investing in our Province; namely, a skilled workforce with a positive work ethic.
“Likewise, in such a partnership between local firms and overseas contacts, our homegrown Northern Ireland-based companies stand to reap tremendous benefits and rewards from having links with the rest of the United Kingdom, Europe and further afield.
“And it is not just international and regional firms which will benefit from an Assembly getting back to work as soon as possible.
“A fully operational Stormont Parliament can once again become a major backbone for the development of local businesses, family firms and traders within the North Antrim constituency itself.”
The two North Antrim UUP candidates also called on the Government to provide more cash aid for job creation to assist with the building of small businesses in the constituency.
“Economically, large oak trees grow out of small acorns and we must ensure our local constituency businesses have a viable infrastructure which enables them to link into every available opportunity in markets in the United Kingdom, the South of Ireland, as well as the European Union,” said Mr Swann and Mr Wright.