It’s dangerous to comment on economic development elsewhere and draw some learnings for New Brunswick because there are inevitably folks around that have a disparate view. But at the risk of that, I’ll say that I am reasonably impressed with this summary of economic development efforts in Northern Ireland over the past six years. A few observations:
1. They spent about 514 pounds per person on ED over six years. I don’t think this included operating costs – just direct funds to business but I could be wrong. Anyway that equates to about $930 Canadian dollars. Multiply that by the NB population and the equivalent spend over six years – directly on company projects would be around $690 million. I don’t know how much NB spent but it was somewhere far south of $690 million. They say that leveraged about $2.4 billion (CDN) in private sector investment and created/sustained 28,000 jobs.
2. They spent $515 million (CDN) on R&D (that is the government’s portion of the spending) over six years or about $80 million per year.
3. It’s a blend of local investment and foreign investment attraction and – key – the salary levels were above average. 93% of the jobs were above the average for the country.
4. Finally – and this is crucial – “Mr Morrison highlighted that the average time taken to process a request for assistance to an offer of support has reduced during the last two years from 43 to 25 days.” Anybody know how long it takes in New Brunswick? I have talked with firms that didn’t get a call back within 25 days let alone project approval.
I like the language used by this guy. “…the mechanism for Northern Ireland to ‘catch-up’ with other regions of the UK”.
That should be what it is all about in New Brunswick as well.