Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Aid deal is linked to shared future, Theresa Villiers tells MPs

Theresa Villiers
Theresa Villiers

A substantial new economic package is being created by ministers in London and Belfast, the Northern Ireland Secretary has told Westminster.

The Labour Party chose Northern Ireland for their allotted debate in the House of Commons yesterday and although the subject of the debate was the 15th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, Theresa Villiers (right) confirmed that the Government was looking at measures to encourage enterprise, boost infrastructure and improve access to bank finance.

But, as first revealed in the Belfast Telegraph, the deal has strings attached.

Ms Villiers told MPs: “We are working with the Executive on a substantial new economic package alongside measures to build a more cohesive and stable society. The package is in addition to support Northern Ireland already gets from the UK government.”

She said Stormont's Executive should develop economic and social measures including work on a shared future.

“Put simply, it is a two-way street — the greater the Executive's ambition the more the UK government will be able to help.”

However, Ian Paisley Jnr told parliament that the “single largest disappointment for anyone in the business community” in Northern Ireland was the prime minister’s failure to take a decision on the devolution of corporation tax.

Mr Cameron said he wouldn’t take a decision until after the Scottish referendum on independence.

Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Vernon Coaker said yesterday’s debate showed “Northern Ireland still matters”.

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