HM Treasury

Independent reviews

Sir David Varney's Review of the Competitiveness of Northern Ireland

30 April 2008

Sir David today published his Review of the Competitiveness of Northern Ireland. Building on his recent work, the Review focuses on identifying measures to promote private sector investment and enhance competitiveness in Northern Ireland.

The Review finds that Northern Ireland has a number of existing strengths that make it an attractive place to do business, including a young population, an excellent education system and strong transport links with the UK, Ireland and the rest of Europe. It also finds that the Executive is responding well to many of the economic challenges brought by increasing globalisation. The Review makes recommendations to the Northern Ireland Executive and the UK Government in a number of areas, including in relation to skills, innovation policy, labour market reform and public sector reform to support Northern Ireland's progress.

The Review of the Competitiveness of Northern Ireland is available in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF). If you do not have Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer you can download the software free of charge from the Adobe website. For alternative ways to read PDF documents and further information on website accessibility visit the HM Treasury accessibility page.

Terms of Reference

As announced at the publication of Sir David Varney’s Review of tax policy in Northern Ireland on 17 December, Sir David was asked by the Chancellor to conduct a further review of the Northern Ireland economy.

The Terms of Reference of this review are:

“Building on Sir David's earlier analysis and agreement from all parties about the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland (in relation to the opportunities provided by the peace process, the need to strengthen the private sector, to create increased employment opportunities and to reform the public sector) this review will explore in more detail how to expand the private sector and to enhance Northern Ireland’s competitiveness. In this context, the review will look at incentives for supporting the sustainable growth of businesses, investment and employment in Northern Ireland and the implications for reducing the historic dependency on the public sector. This will include examination of incentives for growth in Northern Ireland that fall within the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Executive and the UK Government”

Call for evidence

As part of the review, Sir David sought views from as many stakeholders as possible, in Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. A call for evidence was launched on 28 January 2008 and closed on 25 February. The Review team is grateful for the volume and quality of responses received and for the contributions of all of those who contributed to the Review.

Sir David Varney: biography

Sir David advises the Prime Minister on public service transformation, chairing the cross-Whitehall service delivery council. He was Chairman of HM Revenue and Customs from its establishment in April 2005 to the end of August 2006, and before that he was Chairman of MM02, the leading mobile telecommunications company, since its creation in May 2001. He was previously Chief Executive Officer of BG Group (formerly British Gas) and he has held a variety of senior roles in Shell. He was also chairman of Business in the Community from 2002 to 2004.

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