Economy a hot topic at Ministerial visit to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
Thursday 7 June 2018
The Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has met with a delegation at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.
Among the topics discussed with Minister Shailesh Vara MP were the economy, potential investments to the borough and Brexit.
The meeting is a result of ongoing engagement between Council and Westminster and came off the back of a recent visit to London, which raised the profile of the work happening at ground level.
Accepting the invitation from Council’s Chief Executive, Minister Vara stated he was keen to engage with local authorities across NI to discuss the needs and concerns of the people they serve.
Minister Vara took part in a round table discussion with a number of elected members and also met with senior Council staff. Growing the economy and boosting jobs in the borough, and Northern Ireland, were top of the agenda.
The visit also provided a perfect opportunity to brief the minister on the work Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has been involved in to help deliver sustainable economic growth in the borough through its Amplify business strategy.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Lindsay Millar said: “This visit shows our commitment as a Council to raise issues affecting this borough, and Northern Ireland as a whole, directly with the heart of government. We’re delighted that Minister Vara took the time to listen and engage with us here and he seemed very interested in what we had to say.
“A number of major projects, including the UK Industrial Strategy, Heathrow Expansion Logistics Hub bid and Belfast Region City Deal proposals were discussed. We have a massive part to play in ensuring constant regeneration and essentially jobs come to Mid and East Antrim, whatever happens after Brexit, and today was a good opportunity to bring this to the attention of the Northern Ireland Office.”
The formation of a Business Forum for Northern Ireland after Brexit and the role local government can play in that was also a hot topic for discussion. The Chief Executive was keen to show her support for the concept, but wanted to ensure it didn’t become a talking shop, and to ensure that Councils have a vital role to play in the absence of Stormont.
Council Chief Executive, Anne Donaghy said: “Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is one of Northern Ireland’s leading local authorities and continues to play a key role in local government. We are committed to ensuring the borough is at the forefront of innovation, with a community brimming with ambition, talent and entrepreneurship.
“This meeting shows that we are working hard to put our borough on the radar at a ministerial level at government and we will continue to do so to secure the best deals, jobs and investments for the citizens of Mid and East Antrim.”