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Michelin factory closure: Prime Minister urges talks agreement to help build Northern Ireland economy

Published 04/11/2015

David Cameron was responding to Nigel Dodds during Prime Ministers' Questions.
David Cameron was responding to Nigel Dodds during Prime Ministers' Questions.

Prime Minister David Cameron has again urged the political parties to resolve their differences in the current round of talks in order to strengthen and build the Northern Ireland economy.

The Conservative leader was responding to a question from North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds who called on Mr Cameron to work with the Northern Ireland Executive on dealing with the fallout of the Michelin decision to close its Ballymena factory.

Mr Dodds said: "With the announcement yesterday of the loss 860 manufacturing jobs in ballymena at the Michelin plant and one of the factors being high energy costs.

"Will the Prime Minister work with the Northern Ireland Executive to address both the short term and medium term issues as a matter of urgency?"

The DUP's Westminster leader added: "And for people who are currently in work in Northern Ireland and who are extremely worried about the impact of cutting working tax credits, given the Prime Minister and the chancellor and the government are in listening mood and showing a surprising degree of flexibility across a range of issues currently, will the Prime Minister reverse the thrust of that policy and remove that burden and threat to working families in Northern Ireland and across the country?"

Read more:

Michelin factory workers left face grim choice of dole or leaving Northern Ireland

Michelin jobs bombshell shocks Invest NI after it poured £4.75m into the tyre giant

Michelin plant shock closure will take countless millions out of Northern Ireland economy  

Prime Minister David Cameron responded: "We passed, in this house, historic legislation to allow Northern Ireland to set its own rate of corporation tax.

"The sooner we can put together all of the elements of the Stormont House Agreement, then the sooner Northern Ireland will be able to take action to try and build a stronger private sector which is what I want to see."

On the issue on tax credits, the Prime Minister said the DUP representative would learn the government's new proposals on the matter, along with everyone else, in three weeks time.

He added: "People will be able earn £11,000 before they start paying taxes, get more help with their child care and have a higher wage to start with.

"Let's build an economy where you earn more and pay less tax and keep welfare costs under control so that we can build great public services."

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