Alliance Party representative for South Belfast, Allan Leonard, has welcomed Invest Northern Ireland’s revised Corporate Plan, and has countered complaints by the SDLP and Sinn Fein that Invest NI are targeting too much money into South Belfast.
Invest NI’s revised plan emphasises increased Research & Development, higher skill levels, and better exports. It is seeking faster growth in R&D spend than comparable UK regions, and wants exports increased to 30% of total sales.
Allan Leonard, Alliance Spokesperson for Laganbank, said:
“Invest NI’s revised Corporate Plan is a recognition of what NI plc needs to be for the 21st century: a globally competitive economy with the right types of exportable goods and services. We’re not an inexpensive place for businesses, so it’s all the more reason we use our assets: high skills and high knowledge.
“Thus, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that South Belfast is likely to benefit from further investment. Queen’s University alone produces graduates with advanced computing and technology skills, and it will continue to generate more business spin-outs.
“The geography of the Lagan River, with rail links at Central Station, regeneration of the Gas Works, and continual development around the Waterfront area, is a natural attraction for new and expanding business.
“South Belfast may have relatively less areas of ‘new Targeting Social Need’ (nTSN), but targeting such areas is but one part of Invest NI’s budget. Invest NI funds individual projects by its merits, and the assets of South Belfast contribute to success. As residents, we should be encouraged by the confidence in our area.
“Meanwhile, this attraction is all the more reason to ensure good community relations, by being good citizens to each other, and respecting and valuing the diversity of our neighbourhoods.”