In the second part of my series of interviews with DUP ministers I bring you Simon Hamilton MLA. The youngest of all the DUP ministers he has impressed a number of people with his solid performance in the Department of Finance.
On a personal level I found him very impressive and well briefed on the finance file. He opted for an Ed Miliband speaking without notes speech at the DUP conference which seemed to go down well.
The interview is only a few minutes long but we spoke about more powers to Stormont, economic growth and North-South relations. Here are some select quotes;
On NI21’s proposal to devolve income tax powers;
I take a view that devolving tax powers is something that we will look at carefully so long as it brings benefits to Northern Ireland. So it’s not just a matter of devolving a tax per say it’s about making sure that it produces particularly an economic benefit for Northern Ireland.
On viewing corporation tax as a silver bullet for the economy
It’s only part of your overall offering if you look at what Northern Ireland has been able to do over the last couple of years we have been able to attract in blue chip companies like NYSE, Citibank and others because of the skills that we have, the infrastructure that we have developed, because of the telecoms system that we have invested in. So having low taxation in and of itself isn’t enough.
On his relationship with the Irish government
It’s incredibly important, we both have very different jobs to do, we face similar challenges as well…I’ve met Michael (Noonan) now a couple of times, I’ve met Brendan Howlin who has a lot of public expenditure responsibilities in the South too. We swap notes, we share ideas, we look at the issues that we are both facing and see whether there are common approaches we can take.
Full audio available here;
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs