Cameron makes personal plea for international investors to take part in ‘remarkable NI success story’
Investment drive accompanied by series of private sector announcements
Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron at Stormont Castle yesterday
Addressing more than 150 overseas investors, government and diplomatic officials, he urged the private sector to “put your money in Northern Ireland and be part of this incredible success story”.
‘Turning a corner’
In a speech at Belfast’s Titanic centre in the docklands, Mr Cameron stressed the Northern Ireland economy, like that in the UK as a whole “is turning a corner” and said that “new investments are pouring in”.
The region’s film and TV production sector was singled out as the prime minister ran through a list of Northern Ireland’s best known products ranging from London’s red buses, made in Ballymena, Co Antrim, to Bushmills whiskey.
He announced that the Heritage Lottery Fund was poised to invest heavily in the Titanic drawing rooms in a building adjacent to the visitors’ centre where the famous liner was designed. Praising aerospace manufacturers Bombardier, he said the Belfast plant’s overall £520 million (€620 million) investment would directly help more than 200 industrial suppliers throughout the North and Britain.
The company underscored the prime minister’s investment initiative by announcing a £125 million (€147 million) research and development drive involving the creation of 250 further jobs in Belfast over the coming year. Mr Cameron claimed Northern Ireland, with more than 800 international investors, was second only to London for inward investment with almost 8,000 jobs from foreign investment in the last three years alone.
He vowed to make a final decision next autumn on whether corporation tax powers should be devolved to Stormont. This would allow the Executive to cut Northern Ireland’s rate to make it competitive with rates in the Republic. Mr Cameron referred only briefly to ongoing political problems and threatened instability at Executive level, insisting instead that the Stormont institutions and the wider peace were secure.
“From time to time the news agenda works against us but in every country, if they were judged by what goes on the news, I am afraid we would have a very skewed understanding of each other’s existence,” he said.
“Northern Ireland has come a very long way over the past 15 years – politically, socially and economically. We have many of the building blocks in place to take our economy to a higher level and inward investment will play a very crucial role.”