Belfast Telegraph

We need to look for other methods to boost business

Ed Balls certainly seems to be well briefed. His visit here over the past couple of days was supposed to provide an opportunity for us to trip him up and expose his lack of knowledge about Northern Ireland. But that wasn't to be the case, what with the shadow chancellor's quick fire answers to a couple of regional specific economy questions.

And you can't deny he's talking a bit of sense about the issue of corporation tax, in that we seem to have lost focus on other ways which could boost business on these shores.

His comments were sufficiently lukewarm to confirm the widely-held belief that a Labour government wouldn't have any interest in devolving tax setting powers, although he was polite enough to not completely ignore the issue.

But no matter what happens on that specific point we need to start and find alternative ways to bring our economy back up to full working order, whether through more imaginative methods or through traditional hard slog.

Even if tax-setting powers are devolved they will take time to implement and anyone working in business knows we need it soon.

So while Mr Balls' suggestion of using the cash raised from the 4G auction to help kick start the construction industry may sound outlandish, it could offer crumbs of comfort to one of our worst hit industries.