The Conservatives’ candidate for East Belfast, Neil Wilson, has slammed the area’s politicians for “falling asleep at the wheel of this constituency’s economy”, after it was announced that the Howden UK factory at Queen’s Road will close, costing 100 jobs.
“Just two days ago, I called for local political representatives to stand up for industry in this area and I warned there would be more factory closures, unless the old Stormont parties started to work to prevent jobs losses, rather than merely reacting to announcements”, Neil remarked. “It gives me no pleasure at all that the news about Howden has followed so swiftly after that warning. East Belfast’s industrial heritage has too often been neglected, in the rush to court the service sector and call centres. This is the latest in a series of blows for industry, which haven’t been addressed by Stormont or any of the Executive parties.”
“It’s a devastating announcement for the employees of Howden, their families and dependents. They have been let down by local representatives who simply don’t have the will or the influence to make a difference, where industrial jobs are concerned. As a Conservative, I want to see a more hands-on approach to industry from politicians in East Belfast. It was that type of approach which secured 500 jobs last year, when the Prime Minister personally intervened to help the Thales factory seal a contract with the Indonesian government. This constituency has been defined by its great industries. Unfortunately, he current crop of politicians have proved again that they are incapable of protecting the skills and traditions which shaped East Belfast.”