Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland's economy really needs helping hand

By David Elliott

You can always expect a bit of plain talking when Vince is in town. The much-maligned Business Secretary rarely minces his words and has a tendency to probe economic areas others won't or aren't interested in.

Yesterday's visit to Northern Ireland proved just that with Mr Cable rightly pointing out that efforts to get lending flowing again from the main banks here isn't as effective as the rest of the UK. It was only an acknowledgement. There was no plan to sort it out, but it's the best we've had for a while on the issue.

In the meantime, Finance Minister Simon Hamilton said he's talking to the four main banks, the British Bankers Association, the Irish Treasury and Nama to see what can be done.

Co-ordinating action across such a broad range of organisations, each with a broad range of objectives, will surely prove a difficult task and Mr Cable would do well to offer a helping hand from Westminster.

The Business Secretary also touched on that old favourite corporation tax. He thinks our chances of having powers devolved are dwindling as the UK headline rate falls.

So Mr Cable, give us a hand with getting credit flowing and don't think we don't need an extra leg up to compete with our nearest neighbour.

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