Wrightbus: Northern Ireland Secretary of State says government action has been taken to tempt investors

THE Northern Ireland Secretary of State says the Government has taken measures it hopes will tempt investors into buying Wrightbus.

The bus manufacturer collapsed into administration last week with the loss of 1,200 jobs.

One of the reasons for the collapse was a downturn in orders and a change in demand from diesel to electric buses.

Speaking in House of Commons on Monday, North Antrim DUP MP Ian Paisley asked Julian Smith to ensure that potential investors are made aware of the Government support available to the company and all public buses are manufactured by British companies.

“Could he recognise that the arm’s-length bodies, such as Translink and First Group and other bus buyers, need to be encouraged directly with economic assistance to buy more British-made buses?” Mr Paisley asked.

“Could he ensure in future all bus orders go through British companies therefore supporting British jobs and British investment?”

Mr Smith replied: “The Chancellor of the Exchequer has made an announcement today to commit £220m to buses in Great Britain and there will be additional money for Northern Ireland coming out of that pot.

“We are also developing our national bus strategy and I hope that both of two initiatives will mean the market for buses, and the opportunity for the excellent product produced in Ballymena by Wrightbus, will be strong and will encourage investors to take the risk and develop the business further.”

Mr Smith also said he hopes that the lack of a devolved Government in Northern Ireland will not hinder efforts to save Wrightbus.

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