02/04/2009

Bid To Boost SMEs As Engineering Lay-Offs Revealed

While some 95 workers are to be made redundant at an engineering firm in Co Antrim, a scheme to help smaller businesses thrive has been revealed.

The pay-offs are the latest at FG Wilson and will include three sites - Larne (47), Springvale (31) and Monkstown (17).

The firm said the cutbacks were necessary to "manage production levels with current demand".

In January, the company said it was making 250 people redundant and a month earlier it laid off more than 180 agency workers.

On a more positive note, the innovative bid to help smaller businesses to weather the recession has been launched.

The Small Business Rate Relief scheme was unveiled by Stormont Finance Minister Nigel Dodds this week.

He said the scheme will significantly reduce the rates burden for about 16,000 of our smaller and medium sized businesses (SMEs).

The Department of Finance and Personnel is now consulting on the effectiveness of the preferred scheme and its likely impact.

Meanwhile, NI Employment and Learning Minister, Sir Reg Empey, has praised the innovative work carried by projects supported by the European Social Fund to help people back to work.

The Minister was speaking as he visited Limavady's North West 'Lifelong Learning Association' to meet staff involved in the delivery of the 'Skills 4 Service' Project, which is funded by the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme.

It is one of 74 Psuch initiatives funded under Priority 1 of the Northern Ireland ESF Programme 2007-13, which aims to help people into sustainable employment prospects and address the needs of those disadvantaged in the labour market.

(BMcC)

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