Economy Needs Fillip - Not Cut-backs

Stimulating enterprise and trade must be a priority going beyond public sector cuts says banking economists.

According to the Northern Bank's Chief Economist Angela McGowan, decision-makers need to bring forward measures for growing the private sector alongside anticapated proposals to slim the public sector.

She was speaking at the Millennium Forum recently as part of Northern Bank's Let's Talk Business seminar series, and said that debate around public sector cuts needs to be put into perspective and that adequate attention should be given to initiatives that will stimulate enterprise and boost productivity locally.

Ms McGowan explained: "Whilst the public sector cuts will undoubtedly impact upon local economic growth levels, the overall impact of reduced government spending can in the medium to long-term be offset by creating very favourable local conditions for business and foreign investment.

"People have become overly concerned about austerity cuts and appear to have lost sight of the fact that the public sector is not the real economy.

"Jobs creation is now the responsibility of the private sector and policy makers and the business community must focus upon creating the conditions upon which the private sector can thrive in the medium to long term.

"That means looking at all areas from skills to tax policy and, hopefully, policy makers will throw their full weight behind this approach, the rewards of which will be infinitely higher than focusing on departmental budgets," she said.

The event was closed by Northern Bank's Head of Business for the area, Mark Watson, who said that the bank was proactively trying to acquire new business customers and also told the audience that last year Northern Bank issued nearly £500 million in business lending, granted more than 1,000 new business loans and approved over 90% of applications for credit.

The Lets Talk Business seminars follow a series of measures previously announced by Northern Bank to assist local business including the appointment of a business acquisition team to actively grow the bank's share of trading businesses.


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