22/05/2003

Campbell calls on government to aid manufacturing sector

East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell has called on the government to help the manufacturing sector in Northern Ireland cope with the latest job losses following cuts at Desmond and Sons and Gallahers.

Raising the recent spate of job losses during Northern Ireland Questions in the House of Commons yesterday, Mr Campbell said: "I pressed the Minister, indicating to him that several thousand people had lost their jobs in recent months particularly in areas where there has been historically high levels of unemployment."

He added: "The Minister needs to meet with Invest NI urgently and get commitments from them regarding their immediate proposals to deal with what is fast becoming a manufacturing jobs crisis.

"Some of Northern Ireland's largest employers are being affected by an economic downturn that is admittedly international in its impact but the body responsible for bringing investment into this country (Invest NI) must respond to this as other regional economies are having to with proposals that are tailored to the job market here."

Earlier in the month clothing manufacturer Desmond and Sons announced it was to close three of its manufacturing factories in the North West with 482 jobs set to go and only this week cigarette maker, Gallaher's announced it is to shed around 175 jobs at its Ballymena factory.

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