James Cleverly urges Government to ensure small businesses benefit from inward investment in Northern Ireland


Speaking in Northern Ireland Questions, James Cleverly welcomes the news of Bombardier’s successful contract bid and urges the Government to ensure that Northern Ireland’s small and medium-sized enterprises also benefit from inward investment in Northern Ireland.

Inward Investment

James Cleverly (Braintree) (Con)
3. What progress has been made on attracting inward investment to Northern Ireland. [905144]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr Shailesh Vara)
With support from this Government, Northern Ireland stands among the UK’s most popular inward investment destinations. We have increased the block grant in real terms, proposed a city deal for Belfast, with more to follow, and created business opportunities through our industrial strategy. Ultimately, however, political stability is key to economic growth, and that means a restored Executive delivering for the Northern Ireland economy. That remains my overriding priority.

James Cleverly
I am sure that my hon. Friend and the rest of the House welcome the news of Bombardier’s investment in Northern Ireland. My constituency is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises, and I am sure that the economy of Northern Ireland reflects that. What is his Department doing to ensure that SMEs also benefit from inward investment in Northern Ireland?

Mr Vara
My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. He is right to point out the importance of small and medium-sized businesses, which do a fantastic job in Northern Ireland and contribute a huge amount to the local economy. I have met many of those small businesses, and I have nothing but praise for them. They have contributed towards the 52,000 more jobs and 12,300 more businesses since 2010. The Government will continue to engage with organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses and Invest Northern Ireland so that those small businesses can fulfil their maximum potential.