A UTV & Press Association report quotes
Prime Minister Chancellor Gordon Brown on Sky News – “I will then offer them capital expenditures for infrastructure development over a longer period of time and the total package that we are talking about for Northern Ireland is something in the order of £50 billion over the next period of time.” Which, as noted yesterday, is a very familiar figure.. Adds btw that’s not £50Billion over 4 years as the headline on the linked report claims. Update The linked report has since been edited to note the annoncement today.. but the original quotes are below the fold.
Gordon Brown also refers to an initial 4-year plan.. but the figure for the overall package, unsurprisingly, remains unchanged.
Asked about today`s meetings, he said: “I want to assure them that the new Executive, reconstituted, will be put on a firm and secure financial footing so that they will be able to make the investment in infrastructure that they need in Northern Ireland to be able to finance education and the other services that the UK Executive is responsible for.
“I want to offer them a four-year package of funding. We`re not doing that for other Government departments but we will do it for the Northern Ireland Executive to get them off to the best possible start.
“I will then offer them capital expenditures for infrastructure development over a longer period of time and the total package that we are talking about for Northern Ireland is something in the order of £50 billion over the next period of time.
“That is something that we can do to help Northern Ireland begin to improve its economy as well as improve its infrastructure.”
Update We now have some of the detail of Brown’s 4-year plan
After meeting Northern Ireland political leaders, Mr Brown said that in addition to the £35 billion pledged to a new Executive over the next four years, devolved ministers would be able to access £1 billion to enable them to do a number of things to improve infrastructure and job prospects in the north.
Mr Brown also revealed that the government had signed a retail consortium agreement with major companies to provide possibly 5,000 jobs for the province over the next few years.
He also confirmed that Sir David Varney, the former head of the Inland Revenue, had been asked to carry out a review of the different tax rates between Northern Ireland and the south.