Larne’s local enterprise centre, LEDCOM, has responded to the dramatic job cuts announcement by FG Wilson/Caterpillar.
LEDCOM will be working closely with Larne Borough Council and other key players such as Invest NI and the Department for Employment and Learning in responding to the major economic set back.
“This is a terrible blow for the employees, their families as well as the whole Larne and East Antrim economy”, said LEDCOM chairman Arthur Henderson.
“As a community-based social enterprise set up to support economic development, we will be doing all that we can to provide assistance to those affected as well as working on initiatives which can help bring forward new job opportunities.
“We welcome the ‘Team Larne’ approach taken by Larne Borough Council and the leadership shown so that we all work together positively to help our community”, said Arthur Henderson.
Larne Enterprise Development Company Ltd. (LEDCOM) was initiated by Larne Borough Council in 1985 as a response to the dire economic situation then.
Between the 1981 and 2001 census periods, levels of self employment grew by almost 70 per cent in Larne.
“Currently there are over 1,000 VAT-registered businesses in Larne with around 900 of these employing up to five people. Larne has a vibrant small business community.
“It is vital to do all that we can to keep diversifying the local economy by encouraging small businesses to start and grow,” said LEDCOM chief executive Ken Nelson.
“The next few years will be very challenging, but with a co-ordinated approach there is much that can be done to provide practical support which will help re-build the local economy.
In the first instance, help must be given to the FG Wilson employees affected by the job losses as well as assisting businesses which supply goods and services to the company. In the longer term it is vital to develop the existing small business base, encourage new entrepreneurs and bring new investment to Larne,” said Mr Nelson.