Cuts in Department of Economy’s budget “draconian” - Nesbitt

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Cuts in Department of Economy’s budget “draconian” - Nesbitt

Ulster Unionist Economy spokesperson Mike Nesbitt MLA says the draconian cuts in the Department for the Economy’s budget means we will be fighting to create prosperity with one hand tied behind our back.

Reacting to today’s briefing from the Permanent Secretary and his senior team, which revealed the need for £130 million of cuts, a 16% reduction, Mike Nesbitt said:

“This is the year we should be tooling up Invest NI to embrace the many companies looking to invest in our unique dual access to the GB and EU markets. Instead, we are telling INI to take a 15% cut in budget for the second year running.

“These Foreign Direct Investors are particularly attracted by our skilled workforce, yet it is clear Further Education will take a major hit in funding this year, choking the flow of newly qualified talent to the workplace.

“Then there is tourism. Traditionally Tourism Ireland is funded two-thirds by Dublin, one-third by Belfast but recently Dublin has upped its contributions, meaning a disproportionate focus on the Republic in Tourism Ireland’s marketing campaigns, to the detriment of our sector. It would need the endorsement of the North South Ministerial Council to fix that, but that body is not meeting because the DUP will not allow functioning devolution. It’s yet another reason why we need Stormont back today.”