28/06/2004

Council echoes business concerns about recruitment

Belfast City Council has echoed the concern of some of the city’s top business leaders about the difficulties they face in attracting and retaining the right employees.

The issue is just one of a number of critical economic matters which will be discussed this week by members of the Business Leaders’ Forum – a group set up by Belfast City Council to tackle issues of competitiveness in the city.

The Forum’s second meeting, at the City Hall this Wednesday evening, will also look at issues such as the high cost of doing business in the city – business leaders are especially concerned that energy costs, in particular electricity, are among the highest in the UK.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Councillor Chris McGimpsey, Chairman of Belfast City Council’s Economic Development Sub-Committee, said that the Council, through its three-year £11 million Local Economic Development programme, was tackling a range of key issues impacting on the competitiveness of the city.

“The Council realizes that a dynamic business sector is key to the future prosperity of our city and competitiveness is in turn key to this dynamism, and therefore the Council needs to drive the debate in making Belfast a more attractive and competitive city in which to live and work,” he said.

“Through this Forum, which was set up to encourage dialogue between the Council and the business sector, we want to ensure that such competitiveness is promoted."

Meetings of the Business Leaders’ Forum, which involves Chief Executives from around 20 of the city’s largest and most important employers, take place three times a year.

Companies who have confirmed their attendance for the second meeting of the Forum include Bombardier, Viridian, Halifax, Northern Bank, Botanic Inns, Northbrook Technology, BT and Belfast Telegraph.

(MB)

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