East Belfast candidate urges rivals to 'stand up for industry'

The Conservatives’ Westminster candidate for East Belfast, Neil Wilson, has urged local political representatives to “remember the constituency’s industrial heritage and prioritise industry in East Belfast”.

“In the rush to court the service sector and call centres, industry in East Belfast has too often been neglected by the old political parties at Stormont”, Neil observed.  “There’s a tendency to react to job losses, rather than working to prevent them happening in the first place and that’s a failure which stems from a lack of influence in UK-wide politics.  It’s a serious failing in a constituency which is frequently defined by its industrial heritage.” 

“It’s a terrible waste, for instance, to see the old Hughes Christensen site at Castlereagh unused, five years after it was closed or the massive site at the old TK-ECC factory in Dundonald lying derelict since 2004.  Unless the Executive is prepared to get behind industry in East Belfast, there will certainly be more closures.  In contrast, the Conservatives proved the benefits of national political backing and influence, when the Prime Minister personally intervened last year to secure a deal at Thales factory in the constituency, protecting around 500 jobs.”

“Belfast is rightly proud of its tradition as a powerhouse of engineering and industry, much of it based in the east of the city.  Of course, it is right that we diversify and attract jobs in new sectors, but it is wrong to neglect the skills which have shaped this constituency.  Conservatives are calling for a more hands-on approach to industry from politicians who represent East Belfast.  Let’s not lose any more industrial companies and let’s cherish the skills and traditions established in this constituency over many, many years.”