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Foyle MLA Gary Middleton has called on the Finance Minister to bring forward proposals to extend rate relief to assist manufacturers which continue to be impacted by Covid-19.

Mr Middleton said. "The most stark example of Covid-19's impact upon the manufacturing sector is within the aerospace industry. Even as we look towards hopeful signs in relation to a vaccine, it is also estimated that recovery will come much more slowly within that sector, and there is a need for continued support and assistance.

Whilst no support package will ever fully compensate for the losses suffered by businesses, it is important that whatever levers available to the Executive locally are examined. The Finance Minister should bring forward proposals for rate relief to assist. Whilst an assessment can be made whether it needs to be extended across the entire manufacturing sector, there is an absolute need for this within sectors such as aerospace which have been disproportionately hit.

I would hope that the Minister could act quickly to offer some degree of certainty to businesses as they look ahead and attempt to plan for a future which will be very uncertain for some time to come."