MR ROBIN SWANN MLA, UUP Assemblyman and Westminster Candidate for North Antrim has said he has contacted Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to urge them to consider designating the JTI/Gallaher site as “a major Enterprise Zone which could generate skilled jobs for the region”.
Assemblyman Swann, who is UUP Chief Whip and Chairman of the Stormont Employment and Learning Committee, unveiled his direct contacts with Downing Street after the DUP Enterprise Minister informed the Assembly that the designation of Enterprise Zones are “not in her gift”.
In a reply to Assemblyman Swann, she stated that “there are currently no plans to designate other Enterprise Zones in other areas of Northern Ireland”. Responding to this admission by the DUP Minister, Mr Swann said: “To this extent, I have contacted both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the UK Government to consider designating the JTI/Gallaher site an Enterprise Zone.
“I firmly believe that the package of support measures that comes with an Enterprise Zone, supplemented by a highly skilled workforce and an excellent location, would help to attract employers to this site. “While JTI has announced the closure of the current factory, I – as with others in the UUP – are determined that we can bring new jobs to the location by lobbying the Prime Minister and Chancellor directly. There is no way the UUP is giving up the fight for jobs at the JTI site,” said Assemblyman Swann.