Michael Ryan, general manager Bombardier Aerospace Belfast, told the Financial Times today that the proposed phasing out of regional grant aid in the greater Belfast area under new EU aid guidelines was “very worrying” and would affect the company’s ability to invest further.
“We have been able to use grants to offset some of the disadvantages of being in Northern Ireland, such as higher energy and logistics costs. A reduction in corporation tax would to some degree allow us to ameliorate that,” he tells today’s paper.
Bombardier is Northern Ireland’s top private sector employer.
Bombardier has invested £1.8bn in Northern Ireland since 1989, and has 5,000 employees at its five Belfast sites.
The company’s most recent investment, a £520m facility to manufacture composite wings for aircraft, was supported with £21m in regional aid grants and repayable loans worth £113.37m provided by the UK exchequer.
“We went right to the wire on that investment competing with a state in North America. Grants were the deal maker,” says Mr Ryan in the interview.
You can read the rest of what he has to say in today’s FT, or on the FT’s site here: