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De-rating will cost many manufacturing jobs: Neeson

March 24, 2003 12:00 AM

Alliance Assembly member Sean Neeson claims that the Government's proposals to abolish industrial de-rating could cost hundreds of manufacturing jobs in Northern Ireland. The former Deputy Chair of the Assembly's Enterprise, Trade and Investment committee said he would be meeting with the Finance Minister to discuss the matter further.

Mr Neeson stated: "I have been contacted by many manufacturing companies right across Northern Ireland who stand to lose millions of pounds if the Government continues with its proposals.

"Clearly, industrial de-rating was introduced to compete with the much lower levels of corporation tax in the Republic of Ireland. Even recent inward investment has been introduced on the understanding that this incentive would continue."

Mr Neeson added that the Government had failed to deal with high electricity costs in Northern Ireland, despite having the opportunity to do so through the Energy Bill.

"Many companies have also expressed their concern to me about the continuing high levels of electricity costs here. It was civil servants who recently prevented the opportunity of the buy-out of the long-term electricity contracts, which has been the source of these high energy costs.

"For this reason, I am seeking an urgent meeting with Enterprise Minister Ian Pearson to intervene before it is too late and that these unnecessary job losses can be prevented." ENDS.

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