LONDONDERRY Chamber of Commerce have called on Stormont to implement new proposals aimed at boosting economic growth.
Former deputy prime minister, trade and industry secretary and environment secretary Lord Heseltine has made 89 recommendations in No Stone Unturned, a report commissioned by Prime Minister David Cameron.
The recommendations - for stronger Chambers of Commerce, with a greater role to intervene for the benefit of local businesses, improved education policy and its relevance to the economy, investment in infrastructure, planning policy, public procurement and access to finance - have been strongly endorsed by Londonderry Chamber of Commerce.
Lord Heseltine proposes giving Chambers of Commerce the funds, statutory recognition and role that would enable them to make a real positive difference to the local economy. The idea behind Lord Heseltine’s proposal is to make UK Chambers of Commerce more significant agencies for economic development, comparable to their role in Germany and France. He also considered the possibility of making membership of Chambers of Commerce compulsory for larger businesses.
Padraig Canavan, President of Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, said: “We wholeheartedly welcome and endorse Lord Heseltine’s proposals, which are intended to be the basis for a new regional strategy for economic growth. While he is proposing these ideas for England, we would like to see them implemented in Northern Ireland.
“Chambers of Commerce in continental Europe are given a stronger recognition by the national and local state and a clear role in setting local economic policy. We are keen to take on such a role here, on behalf of our members and as part of our commitment to increase economic activity, employment and wealth generation locally.
“Lord Heseltine has produced a rounded and comprehensive set of measures that stand a real chance of improving economic performance across the English regions. We call on the Northern Ireland Executive to consider the same or similar measures here.”