14 February 2020
Speaking at a business breakfast in East Belfast this morning, DUP Leader and First Minister Arlene Foster MLA said,
“The restoration of the Assembly and Executive was not only welcome but essential.
The clear message from not only our voters but all voters was that Northern Ireland could not continue to drift after three years without local decisions on everyday issues like our roads, schools and hospitals.
This vacuum could never provide businesses with the clarity, certainty and long-term stability to plan for the future.
The results of recent elections on either side of the border have demonstrated the electorate are more focused on what we call the bread and butter politics, but what to everyone else is simply real life. Those are the issues on which we must focus.
It is time to deliver better hospitals, schools and infrastructure through our devolved government.”
On Making Northern Ireland more competitive
Preparing well for the future requires forward-thinking and long-term strategy.
The DUP wants to make Northern Ireland a partner of choice for collaboration in research and innovation for projects in the EU and further afield.
We must be careful not stifle the growth of businesses, instead providing incentives for start-ups and upsizing.
We must make routes to capital investment more accessible and less bureaucratic.
And we must ensure firms investing in Northern Ireland get a fair return for their contributions by abolishing the Apprenticeship Levy and replacing it with a more productive and lucrative system.
Striking the right balance between identifying funds to invest in the future and promoting current economic development will be the real early test of the new Executive and Assembly.
The path to delivering the positive and ambitious vision I have set out very briefly this morning will not always be easy.
There will undoubtedly be bumps in the road.
But there is a responsibility on all of us to work collectively in the best interests of households and families across Northern Ireland.
We all have a role to play and I look forward to getting this place we all call home moving in the right direction again.