DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE AND PERSONNEL
31 January 2012
Rebuilding and rebalancing the economy is principal goal – Wilson
Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson has reiterated the need to inspire confidence to build a better future for Northern Ireland.
The Minister was addressing members of the business community in Newry at an event hosted by the city’s Chamber of Commerce and Trade.
Welcoming the Chamber’s invitation Sammy Wilson said: “It’s important for me to speak directly with business men and women to get a real sense of how economic conditions are impacting on the ground.
“It’s clear that trading conditions are difficult given the current economic climate. That is why the Executive has made rebuilding and rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy its principal goal in the draft Programme for Government (PfG) for 2011-15.
“We want to restore growth and revert recent rises in unemployment. The PfG sets out the full range of actions we plan to take to achieve this including job promotion, infrastructure investment, skills development and support for R&D and innovation.”
The Minister continued: “The Executive is also working to have powers for varying corporation tax devolved to the Assembly which would enable our local firms to invest more in their business. I know this issue is very important to the business community of Newry who are often competing directly with firms from across the border.’
The Executive has also agreed a number of changes to the business rates system, to help the local business community.
Outlining the details the Minister said: “Subject to Assembly approval there will be an expansion of the small business rate relief scheme, which will roughly double the amount of rate relief for small businesses.
“Next year around £6million could be provided for up to 8,300 additional small business premises across Northern Ireland. My Department’s analysis suggests that round £675,000 relief could be awarded on over 1,300 properties in the Newry and Mourne District Council area under both the current and the expanded small business rate relief scheme.”
The Minister concluded by urging local stakeholders to consider the PfG and associated Economic and Investment strategies and to submit any views they have during the public consultation which is due to conclude on 22 February 2012.