Diane Dodds: ‘Rebuilding a Stronger Economy’

Diane Dodds: ‘Rebuilding a Stronger Economy’

It is timely that NR requested this interview with Northern Ireland’s Economy Minister Diane Dodds.

Northern Ireland’s economy is facing its most challenging time in decades.

CoVid, Brexit and digital/internet shopping are all changing how we do day to day business. Diane Dodd’s brief as Minister for the Economy is also one of the most challenging in the Executive. On behalf of NR readers, we asked what is her priority in making Northern Ireland a robust economy?

“When I took up office as Minister for the Economy in January 2020, no one could have foreseen the global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the impact it has had on our lives and the extreme pressure the Northern Ireland economy is facing as a result,” said Minister Dodds.

“As part of the initial response phase, a range of national and regional emergency support measures were put in place to help sustain businesses, protect jobs and the economy, with my Department providing significant support of over £340million to date to businesses across Northern Ireland.

Resilience and determination

“As we move into the recovery phase I am confident Northern Ireland businesses have the resilience and determination to meet the challenges Covid-19 has presented us. In June 2020 I published a medium term economic recovery plan ‘Rebuilding a Stronger Economy’, which sets out a framework for the next 12-18 months to deliver higher paying jobs, a highly skilled workforce and a more regionally balanced economy. The overarching objective is to build a more competitive, inclusive and greener economy.

Competitive position

“I recognise that delivering economic growth will be challenging and we cannot simply rely on doing more of what we have already been doing. We need to create a competitive position in a post-Brexit environment and address a number of longstanding challenges such as high unemployment levels, increasing our focus on productivity, encouraging growth and supporting people to develop the skills required to cope with the labour market of tomorrow.

Delivering economic growth

“Strengthening the economy and delivering economic growth cannot of course be achieved by Government in isolation and it will be important for us to work collectively with key partners across the economy as we work towards creating a strong economy for the future.”

Read our full interview with Diane Dodds in the next digital issue of Neighbourhood Retailer – coming this week!