Mr Robin Swann, the Ulster Unionist North Antrim Assemblyman and Chairman of the Stormont Employment and Learning Committee, has challenged Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne “to get his proper thinking cap on and give the green light to forming Enterprise Zones in the constituency, especially in Ballymena”.
Assemblyman Swann, who is also UUP Chief Whip and North Antrim UUP Chairman, issued the challenge as he expressed his “bitter disappointment that the Chancellor has announced a further 26 Enterprise Zones in his Autumn Statement, but has failed to name one in Northern Ireland”.
Assemblyman Swann added: “I had raised the matter in writing with both Prime Minister David Cameron and the Chancellor recently.
“In my letter, I urged both of them to specifically consider Ballymena as a location for an Enterprise Zone in North Antrim given the recent economic blows which have hit the town with the announcements of job losses from JTI and Michelin.
“These losses, coupled with past job losses involving Pattons, mean that Ballymena urgently needs an economic boost and a designated Enterprise Zone would have been a first step.
“This is not a time for fancy speeches from either the Prime Minister or the Chancellor. Ballymena needs radical economic action, not meaningless rhetoric or empty promises,” said Assemblyman Swann.