“I do not believe that we must accept things the way they are…”

Possibly a companion post to the one Mick noted earlier. The NI Executive’s Finance Minister, the DUP’s Peter Robinson, was speaking today to NI members of the CBI at the Stormont hotel

“It is already obvious that the Executive’s new Budget and Programme for Government will be devised in a much tighter financial environment than for many years.

“Unlike the previous devolution period, in the early years of the New Labour Government, when there were significant additional resources, this Executive will have to make tough decisions. It is imperative that we get the Programme for Government and our priorities as an Executive right.”

From the minister’s statement

Mr Robinson said that Northern Ireland faced a number of challenges, not least from Westminster, where there was a reluctance to allow Northern Ireland to tackle its problems in a different way from other UK regions.

He said that the current Review of Corporation Tax has the capacity to help make a difference to our economic prospects, but that it would not solve all our problems:

“Whatever Sir David Varney’s report contains, we still face huge challenges in areas over which we have direct responsibility. The Executive has fiscal control in the area of non domestic rates – these are not set at Westminster, but in Stormont.

“The Direct Rule administration brought forward legislation to phase out Industrial Derating by 2011. The Economic Research Institute for Northern Ireland is presently conducting research into the impact of ending industrial derating. And while it would be wrong for me to pre-empt any decision the Executive may come to on this issue, I believe that if we are to make economic growth a priority we must do it, not just in word, but in action.

“This is especially the case in the context of onerous EU State Aid rules which hamper our ability to assist business in new ways. Capping industrial rates may be an inefficient way in which to target assistance, but there are few other opportunities available to us within EU constraints.

“As I have said, they key will be to facilitate the private sector to become more outward-looking, more innovative and more productive… I do not believe that we must accept things the way they are. I refuse to accept that they will never change.”

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  • Real politcs beckon for the MLAs.
    Tough calls about allocating scarce resources

  • patrique

    He can make a quick £200 million by selling of all the Civil Service buildings, and then those to come will have to pay millions in the future for accommodation. At the moment they are building 10 new Social Security offices using public money, and then give the keys to private companies. I kid you not, that’s the plan.

    And as I said one year ago, the only reason for selling off schools was to allow business men/women to make huge profits on prime sites. At least the other MLAs are beginning to realise this, even if Peter has no foresight.

  • interested

    patrique,
    Something like half the Civil Service Building are already privately owned.

    It is good that we’re finally getting down to real politics – shame that some people’s answer to real politics is to dip their hand into the taxpayers pocket to pay for everything. Shock horror that private companies are better at doing things than Government….

  • fair_deal

    “Unlike the previous devolution period, in the early years of the New Labour Government, when there were significant additional resources, this Executive will have to make tough decisions”

    This raises the question how important is public money to the success of devolution?

    It was pretty flush during the last attempts but it didn’t seem to help. Is a a cash ‘crunch’ a better means of focusing minds?

  • barnshee

    “It was pretty flush during the last attempts but it didn’t seem to help. Is a a cash ‘crunch’ a better means of focusing minds”

    Absolutely –this bunch of deadbeats is up shit creek and the only paddles they have are Local rates and water charges– watch the bastards squim as they pluck up the courage for massive increases.

    The only solution is a huge and ruthless cull of the public sector– and they certainly don`t have the balls for that

  • he also was supportive of retaining a cap on industrial rates

  • patrique

    Shock horror that private companies are better at doing things than Government….

    It would be. In the much maligned CSA the private companies cannot manage ONE piece of the world. Vertex cannot do clerical cases, the private companies cannot trace people, and the debt companies, even with baseball bats, cannot collect as much.

    And it costs a lot more.