Belfast Chamber has called on candidates in the General Election to ‘back Belfast’ and help the city reach its full potential.
Belfast Chamber CEO Simon Hamilton made the comments at the launch of the organisation’s ‘Belfast Manifesto; 7 Priorities for a Better Belfast’.
The century-old organisation which represents over 450 diverse businesses in Belfast, used the ambitious blue print to outline their commitment to help “develop an even more successful Belfast where greater numbers of people want to live, work, study and visit and where companies choose to invest.
Belfast Chamber’s Manifesto urges Northern Ireland’s political parties to restore the Assembly and Executive without delay and calls for a business-friendly Brexit which permits local businesses to trade with the EU without a hard border and the rest of the UK unencumbered.
In the four-page document, Mr Hamilton outlined that “Belfast’s recent success has not happened by accident. It has required consistent investment and concerted action on the part of government and the business community in the city over many years”.
He stated: “That relentless focus on growing a capital city of scale needs to be maintained.
“Business has demonstrated its confidence in our city. We need government and our politicians to continue to do the same.”
The manifesto document calls for government and political support for and delivery of the ‘7 Priorities for a Better Belfast’ which the organisation believes can help Belfast Chamber to achieve their goal of “more jobs, more investment, more growth and improved wellbeing”.
The seven priorities outlined are: support for lower corporation tax and passenger air duty and reform of the business rates system; the development of more high quality, mixed use streets that are accessible to pedestrians, cyclists, public transport and necessary vehicles; a focus on attracting more families to the city centre through, for example, a programme of family friendly events on Sundays; an examination of the full range of options for empowering Belfast including the devolution of more powers such as regeneration and transportation, enterprise zones and development corporations;
Investment in Belfast’s public transport infrastructure, improved air connectivity, an upgrade of the city’s water and sewerage infrastructure and the York Street Interchange and continued investment in the skills and infrastructure are believed to be needed to cement Belfast’s success as a “tech city”.
Commenting on the manifesto, Mr. Hamilton said: “This document demonstrates clearly what Belfast Chamber’s vision is for Belfast, its people and our members. We want to see a wealthier, greener, diverse, accessible, vibrant and powerful Belfast.
“Our Belfast Manifesto sets outs how we, as the voice for business in Belfast, believe that government can help the local business community to unlock the huge potential in the city.
“Government and political support for and delivery of our ‘7 Priorities for a Better Belfast’ can help us to achieve those aims that we all share of more jobs, more investment, more growth and improved wellbeing for all of the citizens of our city and the region it serves.”