Economic Strategy: priorities for sustainable growth and prosperity

25 Nov 2011     Last updated: 20 Jun 2014

The Minister for Enterprise Trade and Investment has published the Northern Ireland Executive’s draft Economic Strategy, which sets out the Executive’s plan to grow a prosperous local economy over the short, medium and longer term to 2030. The Exec

“Rebalancing and rebuilding the economy are the twin goals we have identified in order to become more competitive and we have outlined a range of actions and investments to achieve this. We have also included targets to monitor our performance.

“This is an ambitious strategy and one that requires a partnership approach, from the Executive and public sector, as well as companies and the workforce within the private, community and voluntary sectors. I would encourage all stakeholders to take the time to carefully consider and respond to this document and play their part in helping us deliver the right economic strategy for Northern Ireland”. Minister for Enterprise Trade and Investment, Arlene Foster MLA.

Download the statement to the Northern Ireland Assembly on the draft Economic Strategy by the Minister for Enterprise Trade and Investment.

Commenting on the document, Seamus McAleavey, NICVA Chief Executive said:

The economy is perhaps the single biggest challenge facing this Executive and I welcome the publication of this comprehensive document. The fact that the Executive has outlined its determination that the wealth and prosperity it is seeking to create will be used to help reduce poverty, promote equality and tackle existing patterns of disadvantage and division, is to be applauded.

“However, this is easier said than done; getting the economy moving in itself is going to be an extremely difficult task. It is now our job to look at the detail within this document to ascertain whether this creditable goal is achievable by carrying out the Executive’s planned actions.

“NICVA recognises we need a step change in performance, but this has to come with tangible actions to help people who are furthest from the labour market. The immediacy of the crisis many people are facing can also not be ignored. NICVA will therefore engage with the Executive and this document in a constructive way to get the best results possible”.

Consultation meeting for the voluntary and community sector

NICVA will be holding a round table discussion for the voluntary and community sector in order to help give a cohesive response.

Monday 23 January

Executive’s Key goals

  • stimulate Innovation, R&D and Creativity so that we widen and deepen our export base;
  • improve the Skills and employability of the entire workforce so that people can progress up the skills ladder, thereby delivering higher productivity and increased social inclusion;
  • compete effectively within the global economy and be internationally regarded as a good place to live and do business;
  • encourage business growth and increase the potential of our local companies, including within the social and rural economies; and
  • develop a modern and sustainable economic infrastructure that supports economic growth.

Key Rebalancing Measures

Innovation, R&D and Creativity

  • Support £300m investment by businesses in R&D, with at least 20% coming from SMEs
  • Support 500 businesses to undertake R&D for the first time and secure 120 Collaborative Projects in R&D
  • Support 200 projects through the Creative Industries Innovation Fund by 2015
  • Support our Universities to establish 8 spin-out companies by 2013
  • Support our Universities and Further Education colleges to undertake 155 knowledge transfer projects on behalf of local businesses by 2014

Skills and Employability

  • Increase to 70% the proportion of young people leaving school having achieved at least 5 GCSEs at A*-C (or equivalent) including English and Maths
  • Deliver 210,000 qualifications at Levels 2, 3, 4 and above by 2015, through Further Education, Higher Education, Essential Skills and Training
  • Increase skills in subject areas important to the NI economy such as STEM and implement the actions within the STEM Strategy
  • Improve support to companies and increase the number of people gaining skills in management and leadership

Business Growth

  • Promote £330m of investment and 6,300 jobs in locally owned companies (with 50% paying salaries above the Private Sector Median) and a further 6,500 new jobs in new start-up businesses
  • Increase visitor numbers and revenue to 3.6m and £625m respectively by December 2013
  • Support projects that improve competitiveness, encourage diversification of the rural economy, improve quality of life in rural areas and that protect and enhance the environment, including through the introduction of National Parks
  • Reform planning by introducing spatial Local Development Plans and a marine spatial plan; ensure faster and more predictable processing of planning applications
  • Invest in social enterprise growth to increase sustainability in the voluntary and community sector

Competing Globally

  • Agree with the UK Government on devolving the power to vary corporation tax in a timely and affordable manner to the NI Executive / Assembly
  • Agree with the UK Government on the proposals to devolve the powers to set Air Passenger Duty (APD) for flights departing from NI airports and seek to deploy this power to strengthen our international air access
  • Promote 5,900 jobs from inward investors with 75% paying salaries above the Private Sector Median
  • Allocate £3m per annum for the Assured Skills programme to help attract and embed FDI and meet the skills needs of indigenous companies creating new employment
  • Increase the value of manufacturing exports by 15% by 2014/15 and encourage first time exporters by promoting 60 new start-ups selling outside UK markets and a further 440 selling to GB
  • Develop an agri-food strategy and action plan to drive export led growth in the agri-food sector to 2020

Economic Infrastructure

  • Progress the upgrade of key road projects and improve the overall road network to ensure that by March 2015 journey times on key transport corridors are reduced by 2.5%
  • Encourage industry to achieve 20% of electricity consumption from renewable sources and 4% renewable heat by 2015
  • Improve the landscape in public areas to promote private sector investment in towns and cities across Northern Ireland
  • Develop Regional Sports Stadiums as agreed with the IFA, GAA and Ulster Rugby

Download a full copy of the Consultation here

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