High cost of electricity damaging job creation - Flanagan
Sinn Féin MLA for Fermanagh South Tyrone and member of the Enterprise Trade and Investment committee has stated that Arlene Foster and the Utility Regulator must examine the high cost of electricity in the North as a mechanism to attract more business.
Speaking today Mr Flanagan said:
“The debate currently surrounding attracting inward investment and increasing business capacity in the north is crucially missing a central point.
“The debate needs to address the fact that some of our manufacturing companies pay higher electricity costs than anywhere else in Europe which is ultimately damaging job creation.
“To date, neither Arlene Foster nor the Utility Regulator have attempted to address this longstanding issue. In fact the situation has got worse in recent months.
“The Committee for Enterprise, Trade & Investment published a detailed report on electricity pricing on 3rd March 2014 with a number of useful recommendations calling on both DETI and the Utility Regulator to take urgent action to reduce the price large users pay for electricity.
“To date, both organisations have sat on their hands and failed to take any of the suggested actions seriously. If Arlene Foster is serious about growing the local economy and increasing the ability of firms here to compete with others across Europe, then she needs to urgently take action to reduce the price they pay for electricity.
“The current situation is seriously restricting the ability of Invest NI to attract potential inward investors. They don’t even bother approaching manufacturing firms at this stage due to the high cost of electricity.”
“There are also thousands of jobs at risk across the north as firms are actively considering relocating to other parts of Europe where the cost of energy is more competitive. This must become a priority for both the Minister and for the Utility Regulator as they have largely ignored the problem for far too long.”