Welcoming the ‘Empowering Belfast’ report from Belfast Chamber and Pivotal today, Lisa O’Kane, NILGA Head of Investment, Performance & Improvement, said:
“Today’s report from the Belfast Chamber and Pivotal is both welcome and timely as we look towards rebuilding and reinvigorating the local economies of not just the Greater Belfast area, but of the cities, towns and villages across each of the 11 council areas in Northern Ireland.
“To keep Northern Ireland moving forward, greater devolution of responsibilities with proper financial resourcing must be put on the table. This will result in strengthened democracy and will embed local places, people and businesses into how, where and why we need to invest in public services and support our sustainability.
“At present, councils here are responsible for about 5% of public spending compared with 27% in Scotland and Wales, leaving our councils at a huge disadvantage democratically, economically and in how we serve our communities.
“NILGA sees today’s report as highlighting councils’ unique position to drive entrepreneurship locally and to retain and grow businesses from social economy organisations through to large-scale corporations. As councils are essential to local, direct investment in jobs and infrastructure, regeneration powers should be an urgent piece of legislation approved by the NI Assembly followed by a Devolution Bill for Northern Ireland. Without these triggers, our economy will lag behind the local council-led economic powerhouses developing in Britain and across the border. As business and community bodies are saying, as well as NILGA, there is no time to waste and regeneration powers must be devolved now.”
The Empowering Belfast report, commissioned by the Belfast Chamber and published by Pivotal PPF.