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Working together to rebuild Northern Ireland’s economy will make it stronger and ensure businesses are resilient, innovative, sustainable and competitive.

That was the vision set out today by Economy Minister Diane Dodds at a virtual stakeholder event where she discussed her Department’s Economic Recovery Action Plan.

The Minister’s ambitious plan was launched in February as a blueprint to rebuilding the economy after the impact of Covid-19. It contains 147 actions across four key themes – a greener economy, R&D and innovation, a highly skilled and agile workforce, and investment, trade and exports.

Almost £290million in additional funding has been secured to deliver the actions.

Minister Dodds said: “Economic recovery can only be delivered through collaboration and partnership – we must all work together.

“My Economic Recovery Action Plan sets out a range of decisive actions that will help us to deliver a more competitive, inclusive and greener economy - one that will support our people into new and better jobs.

“It includes some bold actions such as the High Street Stimulus Scheme and the Tourism Voucher Scheme to help bolster struggling towns and city centres and support the tourism sector, when the time is right.

“But what has become increasingly clear, as we have responded to this ongoing pandemic, is that we need to be flexible.

“By listening to you, the people at the coal-face, the industry experts, and our delivery partners we can make sure that the actions set out in the plan are the right ones. We can look to strengthen our plan by identifying what else needs to be done to support Northern Ireland Business and boost our economy.

“When we build back we want to build back stronger. Better. We want our people to develop the skills of the future and our businesses to be resilient, innovative, sustainable and competitive.

“I recognise that there is a lot of hard work still to be done and I will continue to work, in partnership with all of you, for the Northern Ireland economy.”

Today’s event was attended by a wide range of interested stakeholders and included a panel discussion chaired by Gareth Hetherington, director of Ulster University’s Economic Policy Centre.

The other panel members were Dr Joanne Stuart (NI Tourism Alliance), Ann McGregor (NI Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Angela McGowan (CBI) and Paul Grocott (head of DfE’s Economic Strategy Group).