Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce calls for a manufacturing 'task force'

Manufacturing worker Image copyright kzenon/thinkstock
Image caption The Northern Ireland chamber of commerce says energy costs dominate concerns in manufacturing

Stormont should set-up a "task force" to help local manufacturing in Northern Ireland, it has been claimed.

The Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce made the call on Tuesday.

It said most of its members felt the sector had "a future" but there were concerns about a "lack of government policy".

The chamber said the task force should be drawn from the private sector, with the intention of devising "a positive plan to drive competitiveness".

Energy costs

More than 1,000 jobs will be cut over the next two years at Bombardier in Northern Ireland, with a further 1,800 jobs to go in Ballymena with the closure of JTI and Michelin there.

"Energy costs consistently dominate member concerns particularly in sectors such as manufacturing," said the chamber's chief executive, Ann McGregor.

"We welcome the recommendations of the ministerial energy advisory group but would like to see the NI Executive put in place a plan of action to respond to those recommendations as a matter of urgency."

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