Dickson concerned Economic Recovery Plan will be unworkable

COVID-19 Economy Stewart Dickson

Alliance Economy Spokesperson, Stewart Dickson MLA, has expressed his concerns that the Economy Minister’s recently published Economic Recovery Action Plan cannot be effectively implemented unless an Executive-wide approach is taken.

The Economic Recovery Plan, published today by the Department for the Economy, sets out how the Department seeks to navigate Northern Ireland’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Mr Dickson commented: “The past 12 months have brought economic challenges, the scale of which have been unprecedented. For that reason, on Monday the Assembly discussed the serious need for a comprehensive Executive-wide approach to planning our recovery.

“The Department for the Economy should be taking a lead on this matter, but it must work closely with all Executive Departments to ensure that cross-departmental working maximises the impact of economic interventions, but also so we can be assured the funding will be available for actions.

“Unfortunately, the Economy Minister has chosen to produce a plan limited to her own Department. Although there are some welcome ideas including all-age apprenticeship plans and retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency, these are all predicated on funding that is not yet agreed, and are effectively disconnected from any other actions being taken by her Executive colleagues.

“I am also disappointed that a green economic recovery has not been integrated fully into the plan, instead it is relegated to the final two pages, with only £20m of funding envisioned. If our recovery is to be sustainable, and take advantage of all the new opportunities of the green economic revolution, we must ensure it is considered at all stages. Furthermore, there are also no actions detailed on how Northern Ireland can take advantage of the potential competitive edge that dual market access to the UK market, and the EU Single Market for goods can bring – an advantage that nowhere else in the world has.

“I would call on the Economy Minister to work with her Executive colleagues to produce a comprehensive economic recovery plan that the whole Executive can work towards. As we chart our recovery from Covid-19, we must maximise the impact of spending and cross-departmental working to ensure that Northern Ireland can meet the challenges and opportunities ahead.”