Belfast Telegraph

Paterson calls for fast budget deal

The assembly needs to agree a budget as quickly as possible, the Northern Ireland Secretary has said.

The Treasury is considering helping Northern Ireland become an enterprise zone and varying the level of corporation tax from 28% for large businesses to compete with low-tariff economies like the Republic of Ireland.

Owen Paterson met business leaders across the region this week.

"The great strength of devolution is that local decisions are taken by locally accountable ministers," he said.

"So I hope that a budget based on the spending review settlement can be made quickly as has already been done in Scotland and Wales."

Mr Paterson has spoken on the economy at chamber of commerce meetings in Portrush, Newry and Londonderry. He also gave the keynote address at the Enterprise Northern Ireland tenth anniversary conference at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast.

"There is a very clear message coming from the private sector in Northern Ireland. It is that we all need to work together to rebalance the economy starting from now," he added.

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