DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds warned the Government it must consider the increased terror threat before slashing Northern Ireland's budget.
MPs were told the province must “play its part” in the belt tightening when the detailed spending plans for each department are announced on October 20 — with cuts of a third expected in some settlements.
However, Mr Dodds told the Government it cannot ignore the threat from dissidents or the legacy of the Troubles which must be taken account of when the cuts are being drawn up. He also emphasised the economic impact of sharing a land border with the Republic, which has a substantially lower rate of corporation tax.
Mr Dodds said: “It is the only country in the UK which is suffering from the dissident terrorist threat, it is the only area of the UK that shares a land frontier with another country, it is the area which is coming out of 40 years of violence and terrorism, which has greatly truncated the ability of the private sector to compete and the only area that has already had 3% yearly efficiency savings implemented by the Executive.”
His comments came as dissident republican terror group the Real IRA issued warnings that they regard British banks and bankers as legitimate targets.
The terrorists described bankers as “criminals” and said:
“We have a track record of attacking high-profile economic targets and financial institutions such as the City of London. The role of bankers and the institutions they serve in financing Britain’s colonial and capitalist system has not gone unnoticed.”
According to experts, British bank executives have demonstrated an increasing interest in learning military style self-defence techniques over the last 12 months.
Mr Dodds’ statement in the House of Commons also came as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander held talks in Westminster yesterday with the finance ministers from each of the devolved areas, including the DUP's Sammy Wilson.