Examination of Witnesses (Questions 120
WEDNESDAY 16 FEBRUARY 2000
120. Mr Smyth, you talked about the realisation
or the limitations of what you might call the approach of the
early 1980's. Are there any definitive studies, either commissioned
by the CBI or others, which would act as your turn of reference
for this realisation?
(Mr Smyth) I think there are two. The 1993 Northern
Ireland Growth Challenge, set up for the first time, that involved
companies in various sectors. There were about ten sectors: textiles,
food, tradable services, engineering, etc. We looked at the opportunities
in the various sectors and some of them looked at what was happening
in other countries. Much more recently there has been the Economic
Strategy Review, with the publication of Strategy 2010 almost
a year ago. Again, that was on a sectoral basis. Again, coming
from that, they have been looking at other companies and at what
they have been doing: the textile sector, the trade missions;
they have been looking at what has been happening in Denmark,
which really had the same problems as Northern Ireland, suffering
from overseas low cost competition, where they have been working
together on the design side. So there is a fair amount of activity
on-going at the moment. The food sector is a classic one. They
have actually established a Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association.
They are now doing joint purchasing of fuel and insurance and
various things. They are looking at the whole supply chain in
the food sector. Again, things like textiles and clothing, image
problems again. Working together, companies have been able to
say, "Look, jointly we need to be able to promote the image
of our sector in terms of encouraging people to come into it."
There is a fair amount of work which has been undertaken over
the last four or five years.
121. It sounds more enlightened than some CBI
areas. The second question is linked to the business about the
IDB target for inward investments: that they basically want 75
per cent of new investment to be in TSN, targeting social need
areas. To what extent is that realistic? Can that have, as a consequence,
some damage on indigenous industries?
(Mr Smyth) I think the key words you missed out were
"or adjacent". Is that in TSN or adjacent to TSN?
122. That is quite right.
(Mr Smyth) I think we have been fairly close.
123. The travel to work areas, so that is close
enough, as it were.
(Mr Smyth) Our view is that the most important thing
is that the inward investor gets the location that is best for
the inward investor in terms of sustainable competitiveness. We
would all like to encourage that to be as close to TSN areas as
possible. Sometimes the scale and nature of inward investors may
not be appropriate. Indeed, some inward investors are probably
not interested in going outside Belfast or wherever. They have
a particular view from where they come. We think, at the same
time, that it is important to encourage the labour mobility: to
ensure that public transport is there; indeed, ensuring there
is employability so that those people who are looking for jobs
have the right skills, the right attitudes, and can get to the
jobs. Again, in terms of targets, the belief of 75 per cent: I
think in terms of the annual reports and reading they have been
fairly close to those sorts of targets. One would have thought
that these organisations setting those targets, that they do expect
they can actually achieve them. But there has to be a recognition
that it does depend very much on the inward investor and the nature
of the investor. Some inward investors are looking for neutral
areas and that is why in the centre of Belfast, in Belfast this
is fairly technical in terms of the space available for inward
(Mr Johnston) One of the important things is to slightly
differentiate between having to have the inward investment located
specifically in the area where there is social need, and the investment
available to meet the needs of that particular area. With regard
to locating in an area, there is one prime example, which is Fujitsu,
which invested in West Belfast. They even secured a labour force
from within the area because they said they were not looking for
an already skilled workforce. They would train the people. That
is welcome in itself because it is bringing additional employment,
but it is assembly line work. So there are many ways you can ensure
that you get 75 per cent. The overriding point is the type of
investment that they attract and the ability of that investment
to be located in those areas, because I think those areas are
ones where you will not have the greatest technical skills, educational
achievement, and management abilities. So there is a difficult
task in trying to address the problems in TSN areas and locate
the investment there.
124. You did not cover the points about the
harmful effect on indigenous industries. Do you have member coming
here and saying, "If Joe Bloggs sets up here I'm finished"?
(Mr Smyth) I think there is anecdotal information
but it is mixed. Certainly, when some of the major companies like
Seagate have come into the north west, some of the smaller firms
would have said, as far as Cookstown, 30 or 40 miles away, that
they would have lost some key technical people. Others would say
it was a problem four to five years ago but they like the labour
turnover and they are training anyway in their companies. So there
is a bit of a mixed picture out there. Certainly in some cases
smaller firms have lost some key people. They think it is unfair
when some of these large companies are coming in and getting very
significant capital grants, etc. The message we have been saying
is obviously that if we can trim the grants down, more and more
we are heading towards a level playing field. There is a general
view of trying to move the wages up, provided the companies themselves
are increasing the value of their products. So I think there is
a mixed picture. There is some concern that maybe we are over-selling
the fact of our skills base. We have a labour market with lots
of people coming on to it at very good graduate level but there
is probably a weakness around the vocational skills area. There
are some concerns that it will bring a lot of people very quickly
but the skills base may not be there. So our focus is that we
do need to make sure that the skills base is right. I do not think
we are at that stage yet but it is certainly one to monitor. So
far, people have been generally concerned about the tightness
of the skills but they recognise that the more they get in, the
more they give critical mass, the better it will be for the sector
overall. So they are suffering a bit of pain at the moment. A
lot of them recognise this is going to happen. They are going
to have to do more training and bring more graduates on themselves.
(Mr Johnston) I do not think that there are too many
companies who have been driven out of business directly because
an inward investor came in, but there is the problem that if they
are seeking skilled people, those people may well be drawn from
local companies and that may well cause them problems. There are
instances in which these problems have been caused. It brings
one backthen to trying to get a clear focus on those sortsof companies,
and the product areas that oneis trying to attract, and trying
to ensure thatwithin the educational and vocational training establishmentsuniversities
and colleges of further and higher educationthat they are
anticipating those needs, and reflecting those needs, so that
the necessary level of skills is, in fact, achieved.
125. It is better if you have co-operative competition
than if you have dog eat dog?
(Mr Johnston) Indeed.
126. Are you encouraging your own members to
participate in the governing bodies of schools and colleges to
ensure that the needs of industry and commerce are brought to
the attention of schools and colleges?
(Mr Johnston) I think the answer is simply yes. I
am not quite certain the extent to which there has been a take-up
127. The question of take-up that would concern
me is there is always a difficulty in getting good membership
and active participation. In fact it was brought to my attention
very recently where a company virtually had to rewrite the courses
that were on offer in the university to meet their own needs.
It would be important that there is take-up and close co-operation
with schools and colleges.
(Mr Johnston) There is a two-way aspect to this. I
think it is also important that the schools and the colleges realise
that they can benefit from some people who have an expertise which
is outside the traditional educational framework. Let us take
the concept of a non-executive director. Some companies believe
if he does not know what the company is actually manufacturing
and does not understand the processes, he can be of no value to
them. That is purely by analogy but I think it is an attitude
that needs to be overcome. In addition to the fact that there
may not be as big a take-up as one would like, I believe there
could be a greater drive from the education establishment to attract
such people to them and to realise the benefits that they can
(Mr Smyth) If I can briefly add, we certainly see
business/education links as absolutely vital. We did some work
in about 1990 which eventually led to the establishment of the
Northern Ireland Business Education Partnership. Over the years
that has been developing links and enterprise awareness with secondary
schools, and more recently it has been developed to take a broader
role with primary and secondary schools and indeed universities.
I mentioned earlier the Northern Ireland Growth Challenge, certainly
that sector works in all of the various cluster groups and involves
somebody from the universities too. I know the universities did
change courses as a result of that and they are very responsive
to business needs. Finally in the FE sector, where there is probably
an inconsistent and a mixed view, there are some very good colleges
with some strong business input, while in other colleges it is
not so good, it is not so clear and sometimes the courses are
not so relevant. We would be very supportive of that. In terms
of governors and schools there is no particular formality to come
to the CBI to do that. Certainly, one or two colleges have come
to us and we would react very positively to that to encourage
our members to put forward good people to that, certainly a number
of our council members are actively involved in that.
128. When we discuss Northern Ireland affairs
it is almost inevitable you reach a stage where we discuss the
problems of the border and how the border affects the subject
we are examining, so I will do that in connection with investment.
It has already been discussed because in response to Mr Donaldson
you argued that the taxation regime and investment were more attractive
in the Republic than it was in Northern Ireland. What other disadvantages
might there be that Northern Ireland has in relation to investment
coming into the Republic?
(Mr Smyth) Taxation is the obvious one. You can then
start looking at energy priceselectricity prices are significantly
higher in Northern Ireland compared with the rest of the United
Kingdom, indeed the Republic has access to natural gas. On the
educational side the Republic has been very good on the vocational
technical training and Northern Ireland is weak in that. We have
just touched on the further education colleges. I think we have
lost out with apprentices over the last decade or so, we are actually
starting to see more modern apprentices coming through. I think
that would be a weakness and that would be seen as a priority
in terms of attention, to invest more in vocational, training
in Northern Ireland. Dublin is a very cosmopolitan City. From
Dublin airport there is a very wide range of international air
link services, which are very important. I mentioned call centres
earlier, most of their call centres are very much focusing on
the European market. There are very strong language skills as
well, and that would be a weakness in Northern Ireland.
(Mr Johnston) One thing which we found on asking people
was that the tax rate is up front, that hits them between the
eyes, and is extremely attractive to them, even with the prospect
of the 12.5 per cent Corporation Tax as from a few years hence.
I think there is also the fact of a very close association between
the Republic and the United States, which has greatly encouraged
investment and has helped promote investment. There has also been
a great investment of European funds into the Republic, it has
benefited greatly from that. I believe there are so many things
it has been able to do with regard to its infrastructure, it educational
system which have, amongst others, enabled it to present itself
as a very attractive place for inward investment. It has gone
assiduously after this investment. At the moment it is promoting
itself as the major English speaking European country. That is
attractive for inward investment from places like the Far East
and the United States.
(Mr Smyth) If I can briefly mention two other areas
looking forward, in research and development they are starting
to put very big sums of money through public expenditure into
research and development, certainly in the area of e-commerce,
where they are making Government money available. Recently the
MIT, the media lab, got £75 million investment in very new
and very, very high technology in terms of research with private
sector investment. They have over the last ten years or so created
a key critical mass with some key, very high growth sectors and
that literally attracts people in its own right.
(Mr Johnston) I do think that the way they have set
about addressing problems has been significant as well. I did
not bring the whole report with me but I have what amounts to
a 20 page executive summary of a report on e-commerce, the policy
requirements. This is about a 130 page document prepared by the
Republic and they certainly realise the ramifications of electronic
commerce and the impact that it is going to have on the way that
business is done. I know that we actually have in Northern Ireland
as a unique entity one of the largest, if not the largest, sellers
in Europe through the Internet of videosa company called
Black Star, but it seems to me that their's is a more structured,
more focused approach, particularly with regard to e-commerce.
Taking up on Mr Donaldson's earlier comment about call centres.
Call centres may be a step on the way, but there still may be
more growth in that area. I think the relationships which have
been developed in the Republic between the Government, business
and the labour force have created an environment in which problems
have been looked at more in the whole and more structured and
definitive policies have come out. That has been a very important
basis for their achievements.
129. It all sounds very pessimistic, it sounds
like the Republic has beat you on a whole host of areas on essential
development. Are there advantages that Northern Ireland might
have, with particular types of projects being attracted towards
it rather than towards the Republic? Also, in terms of what you
have seen as some of the advantages that sometimes exist in the
Republic, do you see developments that would catch up on those
happening within Northern Ireland?
(Mr Johnston) Electronic commerce, I feel in the next
few years is going to become, if not all pervasive, very pervasive
indeed. They have certainly gone into this in a big way. The fact
that on this side of the Atlantic we have embraced this very much
less than in the United States and Japan means there are great
opportunities still to be gained, and the fact that someone may
be first at the starting block does not necessarily mean they
are going to win. One of the problems which they are facing, I
know at the moment is that they are having to suck in labour from
outside. The spectre of over-employment could well be affecting
them. They are attracting many graduates from Northern Ireland
to the Republic but that in itself may well be counterproductive
because of the salary levels there. We would hope that in the
near future we may be able therefore to offer an as well qualified,
if not better qualified, labour force at a lower cost.
130. Is this a problem for Northern Ireland?
Do you see this as a brain drain?
(Mr Johnston) I would not put it as boldly as that.
There is certainly a flow of skilled labour and trained labour
from Northern Ireland to the Republic.
(Mr Smyth) If I can add, I see it as a brain overflow.
In the past Northern Ireland has not been able to create enough
opportunities. Currently we have been increasing the level of
opportunities and we will attract some people back. Dublin, in
particular, is very attractive to young graduates, the salaries
are very attractive but bringing up a family in Dublin is now
becoming very expensive, maybe those people are going to come
back to Northern Ireland with good experience. Dublin, in particular,
is suffering severe problems in labour market issues and, indeed,
the Government in the Republic will not offer any more incentives
to people to invest in the Dublin area, it is going out to the
BMW areas, the border, the midlands and the west. Dublin itself
hasa very severe infrastructural problems with transport, there
are congestion problems there. It is becoming more expensive.
In terms of opportunities, I do think there are supply opportunities
into these big multinationals. The Republic has run afairly successful
linkage programme between multinationals and smaller indigenous
companies and we hope that through the new Trade and Business
Development Institution that has been set up that there would
be opportunities to do that on an Island of Ireland basis. The
construction sector are just about to invest in the order of £40
billion over the next five to six years, very significant opportunities
for the Northern Ireland construction companies.
131. All investment projects that are coming
in from outside want to be competitive between the Republic and
Northern Ireland. Some people when they are judging where they
should invest and they are looking towards the Republic might
be looking towards a number of other areas that they would be
investing in, it might be Great Britain that was the alternative
market that they would be seeking to go for.
(Mr Smyth) I agree entirely. I just happened to have
a meeting yesterday and somebody from Eircom gave me their CDand
they are the equivalent of BT in the Republic, they also have
AOLthey said skills, the costs basis and the euro. The
euro was very important to them. It is a single market on that
basis. There is no doubt, yes, they will be looking at other competing
regions. Interestingly, a lot of people wanted to set up in the
capital but that is now no longer available. The development agencies
in the Republic are trying to encourage development in the regions.
The real competition in the future will bethey do not particularly
want more development in Galway or Cork either, because these
are overheatingin some of the more rural areas outside
132. Is there any inward investment into the
Republic that then has a spin-off into Northern Ireland? Might
firms sometime be looking for activities that link in with some
subsidiary development in the North?
(Mr Smyth) Absolutely. On the supply side there would
be a number of companies supplying the computer companies. A lot
of their growth in Northern Ireland is on the back of the growth
in the computer industry, Dell and Compaq, etc in the Republic.
We do believe there is more potential for developing that. It
is not particularly helped at the moment with the strength of
sterling, that is a very major problem at the moment.
(Mr Johnston) With regard to companies coming into
Ireland, many of them tend to see the island as a unit and they
would put one major base and the issue is whether they install
that major base in the Republic or in Northern Ireland. As Mr
Smyth was saying, if you get a major company there which requires
to have a logistic chain, a supply chain, even a distribution
network, then there are opportunities throughout the island for
those based in Northern Ireland to utilise companies in the Republic
and the reverse is also applicable. I would just like to say I
am not at all pessimistic about things. The issue is the firmness
with which we actually grasp the challenges which we face. I do
believe that electronic commerce is an issue because there are
so many issues which flow from it which, in fact, it happens that
the Republic has grasped sooner than we have grasped and it is
important that we grasp it with both hands as quickly as possible.
133. In paragraph 16 of your memorandum you
make a number of recommendations about the focus of future investment
policy. As we heard earlier, a number of these recommendations
might also be before other similar bodies throughout the United
Kingdom. How do you intend to promote these recommendations? I
would be interested, is there anything in your structure, do you
think, that gives you an advantage over regional development agencies
in the United Kingdom?
(Mr Smyth) I think on the latter point with an Assembly
and a Northern Ireland Minister and going to the United States
with the cross-political front, they were able to do a major investment
roadshow where they toured at the end of 1998. That goes down
extremely well with the investors when they see people from the
different traditions working together; on that point that would
be very positive. Plus the fact that we think with the minister
they can make decisions, we have a sort of "can do"
mentality. We have been very encouraged by the fact that the ministers
and Assembly members recognise the need to work very closely with
the private sector. That is one thing that has evolved over the
last five to six years in terms of identifying some of the work
in the sector. Prior to 1993 the software sector and the health
technology sector were not key targets for the IDB. It was through
the work of the Northern Ireland Growth Challenge and the sectors
which identifiedthey looked in the Republic to see the
growth that was happening therethey said, "Here in
Northern Ireland there is a very small sector to start but with
a very significant potential growth". Over the years we have
seen that and we have continued to encourage that, the IDB and
the people involved in investment, working very closely with the
private sector in terms of identifying the opportunities and the
sectors where the growth would be. I think to point out an issue,
this is now two and half years old, by and large we would feel
that the IDB have been moving along this agenda. The unemployment
has been coming down. We do need to focus on higher quality jobs.
We do need to focus on new technology and linkages with the universities.
I think in Northern Ireland we have a lot of potential with the
universitieswe have two very good vice-chancellors now.
The Queen's would say they have been promoting one spin-off a
year, we think they should be promoting three spin-offs a year.
There is a lot of potential there to be tapped into. That is against
the IDB working with the universities in collaboration with the
private sector in terms of identifying the potential market and
opportunities there. We have an annual meeting formally with IDB,
we also meet them informally at other opportunities, and we would
be promoting this to them.
(Mr Johnston) Can I just elaborate on one thing. An
issue which I noticed over the last few years is the willingness
of Government and government departments to consult prior to the
production of reports and issuing policy documents for consultation.
The most recent one which we have had the opportunity to comment
upon is the one on research and development in universities. I
think there is certainly a realisation that there has to be a
much closer linkage between business and the universities to try
to ensure that the research is a means to an end rather than an
end in itself. I believe also there may be opportunities as well.
Thinking in terms of research and development, sometimes there
are developments made by small businesses and if they had access
to larger outside investors who could help them develop the idea
and develop it in an indigenous sense, it is not just somebody
from outside bringing a new idea in. We may need the investment
and skills from outside to ensure that our local initiatives are
properly developed. I would certainly like to see investment in
that as well. It brings me then to one other point which I think
is important to make. We can say we can strengthen existing sectors
and clusters, particularly in the high growth sectors, but the
important thing is to be able to predict which will be the high
growth sectors in the future. We all want to back winners, but
those who manage to back more winners than others do their homework.
There is the issue of a knowledge base and awareness base, a knowledge
of what is going on in the worldwide economyI am not satisfied
that the knowledge available to us of that is sufficient. I also
tend to think that we could better monitor what our own small
companies are doing to try to ensure that where there is something
with wide potential, it could, in fact, be capitalised on for
the benefit of the Province.
134. Gentlemen, we are all aware there is a
very considerable amount of public money invested in attracting
inward investment through IDB. You have already said that you
are in regular contact with IDB, what is CBI's assessment of IDB's
performance and have you any views as to how IDB's current performance
could be further enhanced?
(Mr Smyth) I think the answer to that is that we were
not in a position to undertake a detailed assessment of what they
have done. They have come through a number of very difficult years.
I think we all accept, with the image that Northern Ireland has,
it is going to be very difficult to attract inward investment.
I suppose through our contacts they have been moving, they have
been shifting, they appear to be responding to what we and others
in the industry have told them. What I said previously, I think
it is very important that they do link very closely with what
is happening in business and get views in terms of where the potential
opportunities are, where would investment coming in strengthen
sectors, where there are strengths in research and development.
In terms of a strategy we outlined, they are very much broadly
going down that path. In terms of the sectors they are targeting
at the moment, one would not question them other than probably
with the automobile components, with the changes we are likely
to see in the automobile industry with the Internet, etc and one
questions whether that is sustainable for Northern Ireland. The
other issues of telecom skills and software, I think there are
very, very significant opportunities there. In health technologies
there is significant potential. The sectors are broadly right.
They have been working more closely with business. They have also
taken a more proactive role in terms of going out to speak with
companies that are already here to say, "Is there somewhere
back at home that your multinational parent is looking at that
we can attract into Northern Ireland?" We think that would
be important. We have gathered anecdotally, we have not done a
(Mr Johnston) Just to try to answer Mr Beggs' question
very specifically, the CBI would be in support of the published
endeavours of the IDB, the areas which it is targeting. If you
wish to get hard information on what actually is being achieved,
one has to examine the annual report. Anything else in between
tends to be somewhat anecdotal and that relationship tends to
have its difficulties. There could well be advantage in, let us
say, greater information on the activities of the IDB and in their
performance and, perhaps, a greater transparency. As I was alluding
to earlier, it would seem to me that there have been government
departments, government agencies which have very clearly consulted
and there has been a very full input. The important thing is being
able to assess the output. We are at a certain disadvantage because,
frankly, we know where they are, we know what they are trying
to do, but until we see something on the ground we do not know
too much about the detail of the successes and the lack of success.
I think there could be an advantage in having a greater amount
(Mr Smyth) One of the many areas where we have suggested
they come up with more information, one of many areas, is in the
quality of jobs, to try and come out with some indicators which
might give you a better idea on how much money has been put in
to achieve this role.
(Mr Johnston) Just to finish up on this point, one
thing I have found in other fora is where, in fact, the performance
in the Northern Ireland economy has been taken as a proxy for
the performance of a specific initiative and one does not know
whether, in fact, there is a simple correlation. Success may be
in spite of their efforts or failure may not because of their
efforts because it is totally outside their control. I think there
is an issue over the quality, the quantity and the focus of the
information where we have to make the judgment that you would
(Mr Smyth) Could I add a final point? A report arrived
on my desk today from the Northern Ireland Economic Research Centre
and they are suggesting that Northern Ireland has done exceedingly
well out of projects in computer software. According to an IDB
press release Northern Ireland has secured eleven out of thirty-five
major new projects announced in the period 1991 to 1997. They
are certainly suggesting that Northern Ireland is getting more
than its fair share, which is encouraging from a Northern Ireland
135. What infrastructure and facility constraints
has the CBI Northern Ireland identified that might inhibit the
development of inward investment?
(Mr Smyth) A couple of obvious areas, one is transport
and the other one, the big one, is energy costs, both in terms
of the price of electricity and the nature of the generating contracts
that we were landed with at privatisation which we have been encouraging
the Regulator to do something about. There might be some encouraging
news in the weeks and months ahead on that. It is also important
in terms of access to the natural gas grid, particularly for companies
in the auto component sector, Ryobi and Montupet, which are fairly
significant energy users and both within the greater Belfast area
and have very recently moved on to natural gas. Transport infrastructure
is the other. The Westlink, in particular, around Belfast is becoming
a potential, significant problem over the next few years. We see
that as one major bottleneck in Northern Ireland. Toome bridge
is also a problem, there are short-term remedies which were announced
last week by the minister, which is encouraging because that is
the main link up to the north-west. There are some other investments
but as key investments those are the two bottlenecks. Also the
other weakness in Northern Ireland is really direct air links.
We are very dependent on Heathrow. In the medium-term to long-term,
Birmingham and Manchester will have to become more important.
At the moment we only have one direct link into Brussels, one
flight a day. For international companies targeting the market
it is quite a costly and time consuming exercise to be going to
many of the markets in Europe, that is a general weakness. It
is difficult to know how to address that. We have suggested there
should be up-front marketing support or a route development support
to try and encourage these routes to develop them. Those are the
two obvious areas.
136. You would make direct representation to
Government in addition to responding to consultation documents?
(Mr Smyth) We would, indeed, absolutely.
(Mr Johnston) There is the issue of transport within
the Province and there is the issue of access and egress. Certainly
where, in fact, we wish to attract a company which demands by
its very nature that the goods it produces must be physically
transported, it is not just a matter of transportation in the
Province, it is transportation from the Province to elsewhere.
If it is by road transport, then our major route at the moment
would be to the south of Scotland at Stranraer, so it raises issues
of links within Great Britain. I know there is work being done
at the moment, with which CBI is involved, within the east/west
corridor across Scotland and the north of England. If we are attracting
companies whose products can be, let us say, termed virtual, ones
with which the whole transaction can be fulfilled electronically
then I believe we have the telephone infrastructure, that is there.
There is no doubt where there is a heavy consumption of fuel then
the higher the electricity costs are a problem, and one thing
which may cause us further difficulty, would be the Climate Change
Levy, which can exacerbate that position.
(Mr Smyth) Just picking up Mr Johnston's comment on
the Internet. E-commerce is going to make it more important in
terms of logistics and supply chain efficiency and this is, in
time, going to get squeezed down more and more. You can reliably
get goods, particularly, into Great Britain but also into Europe.
137. A very quick question on the back of the
Climate Change Levy, CBI here are lobbying robustly, are you part
of that programme or is there a separate issue?
(Mr Smyth) CBI is aware that there is a particular
issue in Northern Ireland where we can uniquely, within the United
Kingdom, absorb a higher reduction of sulphur emissions. If we
get the Climate Change Levy we will not do that, it will have
a big impact. CBI nationally is very aware and our Director General
raised that with the Chancellor last week.
138. You made an independent submission.
(Mr Smyth) It was also picked up in the CBI brief
as well. They have the access here that we would not have in Northern
139. Three disconnected points, the first is
to pick up something Mr Beggs asked about and you commented on,
the need for more direct flights to Europe. This is just a small
point, I happened to discover recently that the direct flight
from Belfast to Amsterdam, I think it is British Midland, has
now been cancelled.
(Mr Johnston) KLM.