Alex Easton has today called for more help for local businesses and to attract more businesses and jobs to the North Down area.
Speaking today Alex Easton said:
I personally have been at the forefront of pushing for my constituency, making sure that grants were publicised and taken by local businesses, pushing for the public realm and shop front schemes and working hard to make sure that there was a freeze on business rates at a local level as well as helping many businesses during the Covid pandemic.
But the best thing that I can do as an MLA for local businesses is doing what I am doing is to listen. I want to know your concerns and what is causing problems at the coal face so that I can take these issues to the assembly and to the departments that make policy. I have a strong track record of delivery for all of the constituencies and I am very aware that to continue doing so I need to be listening to local businesses and be your voice in the Assembly.
While we have seen some green shoots of recovery we are still seeing the lag time in recovery in NI compared to the rest of the UK that always happens.
I believe that this coming 5 years will be a testing time for our economy but one with the correct leadership could be a significantly positive time for Northern Ireland and North Down.
While other parties are thinking of quick wins in the run-up to an election I am thinking of a long term vision for Northern Ireland for not just this Assembly term but for the two terms after that and beyond.
My vision is one of future-proofing the NI economy. That means joined-up government across the economy. It means not only bringing new and highly lucrative business to Northern Ireland but making sure that our young people are educated in both the academic and vocational skills to make sure that when we get the business that we will attract, we have the skills base and experience to assure that we can keep them here and that all of the young people in our constituency who train for the industry will have a job to go to.
We will not be better off because the reduction in corporation tax is aimed at foreign investment and is yet to even be used. The investment that is needed and should be aiming for will bring highly skilled, highly paid jobs to North Down. We have to remember that NI has less than half of the disposable income of GB. An average family here has only £89 disposable income per week whereas in GB they have £197. These new jobs will have a trickle-down effect meaning more tax income for public services, more bed nights in our hotels, more investment and a rise in property, and more money for spending in tertiary services, retail and hospitality.
I will also continue to push for lower rates and other tax reductions as well as a reduction in bureaucratic regulations. For me, this is not a one-term goal but a vision for the future. We really want NI to be ready for business in the 21st century, especially for our own indigenous businesses. We want not only to have better regulation but best practice regulation and a tax system that gives businesses a clear idea of what they are paying for and what they receive in return. I want to make access to town centre shopping easier with the removal of Loading bays and more accessible parking and free for all.