Page last updated at 14:04 GMT, Monday, 5 October 2009 15:04 UK

Consultation on economic report

Arlene Foster
Enterprise minister Arlene Foster announced consultation on the report

There is to be consultation on the report which examined issues relating to NI economic policy, the Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has said.

The minister outlined the key areas where the review panel of the Independent Review of Economic Policy had made recommendations.

She said it was "important that stakeholders, and other interested parties" contributed to the debate.

The closing date for the consultation is 16 November.

Addressing MLAs on Monday, the minister said: "I invited Professor Richard Barnett to chair the review to determine whether existing policies, programmes and resources, in my Department and Invest NI, are contributing optimally to the delivery of the productivity goal set out in the Programme for Government.

"The panel has made a total of 58 recommendations, which cover a broad range of issues associated with economic policy development and delivery in Northern Ireland.

Mrs Foster said that it "is important that stakeholders, and other interested parties, take the opportunity to contribute to the debate on how Government should respond to the Review Panel's report".


In the report published in September, the panel concluded there was confusion in government over who was responsible for economic policy and recommended the Department of Enterprise and the Department of Employment and Learning should be merged into a new "Department of the Economy."

It was critical of Invest NI and said it should have a more focused, dedicated and professional approach to strengthening export performance in both manufacturing and tradable services.

The agency should also be accessible to all companies and not just a list of clients. The report claims that one third of all grants paid out have gone to just 10 companies.

The review also said Invest NI should have chased better quality jobs that add more value of then local economy.

In response Invest NI said many of the recommendations in the report were consistent with changes it had been lobbying for for years.

The Independent Review of Economic Policy was commissioned by Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster in 2008.

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