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Job Losses in Manufacturing Industry

Part of Private Notice Question – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 4:15 pm on 20th April 2009.

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Photo of Arlene Foster Arlene Foster DUP 4:15 pm, 20th April 2009

The latter issue is a difficult one, because it is only when a company moves research and development to another country that one realises that is what exactly it was planning to do. However, we will continue to apply due-diligence tests to the amount of money that we give to those companies in order to ensure that they remain in Northern Ireland.

Concerns have been raised with me about the use of research and development money in Visteon, and the fact that that money went to South Africa to develop a product that is now being used there. Obviously, that is of great concern to us, and we will pursue clawback, if that is the procedure that we need to use.

We have looked into whether we can avail ourselves of the EU globalisation fund. Unfortunately, however, the scale of the job losses in Northern Ireland is not huge in European terms.

Such job losses are not considered huge in European terms: that would entail the loss of tens of thousands as opposed to thousands of jobs. We have looked at the EU globalisation adjustment fund, but I am afraid that it does not appear that we can avail of it. That is not to say that we will not continue to engage with Europe.

Earlier, the Chairperson of the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment said that we should consider relaxing some state-aid rules. We are doing that, and I apologise for not responding to that earlier. We are engaging with Europe and are looking at ways in which we can be more creative with our schemes, and we hope to be able to say something about that in the near future.