Building a vibrant and world class economy creates jobs, reduces inequality and means more revenue to support public services. That is why the task of strengthening our economy is the central focus of SDLP MPs, MLAs and our local Councillors. The SDLP is committed to improving our economy and growing our private sector. That economy is not just our businesses, but it is all organisations, including third sector, who work to improve our society.
Higher Education and Skills
Universities and FE Colleges are critically important to providing training and skills for our society and economy. As well as providing training for our young people, they attract national and international funding and build close links with research and industry which benefits our entire economy and society.
The SDLP is committed to enhancing financial support for our third level institutions, ensuring that they are resourced to deliver world-class standards in teaching and research. Supporting and enhancing relationships with businesses is also vital in making sure young people who want to stay here for employment are able to do so.
The SDLP remains committed to funding education as a public good, including putting an end to tuition fees.
In addition, the SDLP is committed to the expansion of the Magee campus to 10,000 student places through direct government funding, North South structural funds and further government support.
The SDLP pioneered the introduction of City Deals in Northern Ireland. We welcome the recent developments in councils across Northern Ireland.
City Deals will play a key part in ensuring access to training for young people increasing employment and ensuring that our technology infrastructure meets the demands of the modern economy.
While our tourism market goes from strength-to-strength, key financial tools to support the tourism industry remain in the control of Westminster. The SDLP will continue to call for an end to Air Passenger Duty (APD) which will allow airports in Northern Ireland to compete with their Southern counterparts and explore new routes to attract tourists. In addition, the power to reduce VAT on tourism and hospitality services remains at Westminster and SDLP MPs will seek its reduction to act as an additional stimulus to our tourism market.
Brexit is the greatest threat to the agriculture sector in decades and the SDLP will do everything in our power to stop it and to reduce the damaging effect
it will have on our farming communities. That means ensuring that everything must be done to stop a hard Brexit which would see the economic decimation of farms through the removal of tariffs and flooding of our markets with cheap poor-quality imports.
Ensuring the maintenance of EU standards, including on animal welfare, will form a key part of our work and we will not support a race-to-the-bottom for any agricultural standards in any post-Brexit scenario.