Carson McDowell supports major report into NI's manufacturing sector

24 March 2016


Carson McDowell has sponsored a new in-depth report by Manufacturing NI that details the economic contribution of manufacturing which calls on the next Northern Ireland Executive to raise ambitions and drive reindustrialisation of the economy.

The report by Oxford Economics highlights the robust nature of the sector and its importance to the overall economy, but also outlines the historic opportunity which exists to see a step change in economic prosperity in the next decade.

In its key findings the report says that the manufacturing sector contributes:  

  • 214,000 direct and supported jobs, 1 in 4 of all jobs in the economy.
  • A £9.9b total GVA contribution to GDP, around 30% of the economy.
  • Productivity at £55,700 is 38% higher than NI average with advanced manufacturing contribution 27% more.
  • Exports at £6b, almost two-thirds of all export sales.
  • £254 million in R&D in 2014, accounting for over 60 percent of total business investment
  • Attracting £900 million in FDI Between 2010 and 2014.

Speaking as the group launched its report, MNI Chief Executive Stephen Kelly said: “Despite recent high profile problems, this report highlights the historic opportunity which the next Executive has to help create renewed economic prosperity. We believe that it’s possible and necessary for the Executive to work with the manufacturing sector to increase its contribution to 20% of GDP, narrowing the gap between north and south of the border. Through the implementation of a manufacturing strategy, the establishment of a target on competitive energy prices, continued stability on rates and a raising of ambition, the next Executive can create the conditions which will see this target met and transform communities across Northern Ireland. It can lead a re-industrialisation of our economy.”

Richard Gray, Partner and Joint Head of Carson McDowell’s corporate team said: “This is a significant piece of research by Manufacturing NI which will hopefully be used to inform policy on manufacturing at the highest level of government and which will enable the industry to secure the support needed to succeed in the future.

“Northern Ireland has a proud manufacturing tradition and you only need to read the headline numbers from this in-depth report to be reminded just how important the manufacturing sector is to our economy. It directly contributes more than 85,000 jobs – some 10 per cent of our employment – and 14 per cent of total economic output in the region.

“As Northern Ireland’s largest independent law firm, Carson McDowell has been advising local manufacturers for many years. We represent some of the industry’s most successful companies, from large, multi-site exporters employing more than a thousand people, to smaller, niche firms who have made a name for themselves with innovative products and market leading technology.

“We know these are tough times for some companies in the manufacturing space, but we share Manufacturing NI’s optimism that, if the challenges from competition and rising costs can be overcome, then manufacturing in Northern Ireland can grow faster than the other regions of the UK over the next decade.

“What is clear from the report is that we should not be lamenting the decline of manufacturing in this part of the world. Instead we must celebrate success and do all we can to support the sector, to foster the conditions that allow our companies to thrive and to ensure that the Made in Northern Ireland stamp continues to be an internationally recognised symbol of quality.”

The MNI report outlines how manufacturing accounts for a higher share of output relative to manufacturing in the UK as a whole. It says the sector also plays an integral role in supporting incomes and communities outside Belfast, as it is the largest employer in places like Mid Ulster and East Antrim, where it also accounts for over a quarter of all economic activity.

In addition to the direct jobs and growth manufacturing accounts for, the report estimates that the sector stimulates an additional £5bn in economic activity, supports an additional 129,000 jobs, with wages of around £2.1bn.


CAPTION: Neil McCullough (L) of Oxford Economics and Richard Gray (R) of report sponsors Carson McDowell Solicitors join Manufacturing NI Chairman Con O’Neill to launch the new report into the manufacturing sector.