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Northern Ireland Economy and Innovation: Government Support

Part of Endometriosis Workplace Support – in Westminster Hall at 5:19 pm on 29th October 2019.

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Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scotland Office) (jointly with the Northern Ireland Office) 5:19 pm, 29th October 2019

The hon. Gentleman draws attention to what the private sector can do to support apprenticeships and programmes of that sort, which of course I welcome. I also look forward to seeing the nine digital and innovation business cases from the Belfast region city deal come to fruition next year.

We are of course aware of the challenges faced by some of Northern Ireland’s iconic businesses in recent years, notably Harland and Wolff and Wrightbus. These have been very difficult times for their workforces, the families and the local communities. As Ian Paisley kindly paid tribute to, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has engaged continuously with the efforts that local hon. Members in both constituencies—Gavin Robinson—have championed to bring in new investors to support those two iconic names. I join the hon. Member for North Antrim in saying that I hope those investors will deliver tens of thousands of opportunities. I believe that hydrogen-powered buses and green infrastructure can play a crucial part in achieving the UK’s aim of achieving decarbonisation, and show how Northern Ireland can continue to lead the way. So I want to see those businesses succeed.