DUP STRANGFORD MLA Simon Hamilton has been appointed the new Finance Minister at the Stormont Executive.
He replaces the DUP’s Sammy Wilson and takes up his post from today, Monday, July 29.
Following his appointment Simon Hamilton said: “I am very honoured to be appointed as the Minister of Finance and Personnel and look forward to the role and the important challenges that are ahead of me.
“The portfolio of the Department is not to be underestimated as we work to deliver on a wide range of issues working with other government departments in delivering on the commitments contained in the Programme for Government.”
Speaking about the wide range of issues facing the Department the Minister said: “As we continue to rebalance and rebuild Northern Ireland’s economy there are significant issues we need to deliver on including the budgetary challenges presented to us by Treasury. I have no doubt that there will be continued financial pressures with competing departmental priorities when hard decisions will have to be made.
“Welfare Reform, rating issues, devolution of Corporation Tax will continue to be high on the agenda as well improving online access to government services by the citizen and continuing to tackle sick absence levels across the whole of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
“I am committed to working with my Ministerial colleagues in following through on the opportunities offered by the Economic Pact and in pursuing a programme of public sector reform to enhance the quality of services to the public and to improve efficiency.”
The Minister added: “I firmly believe that DFP is the engine room of the Executive and if this Department isn’t working well or functioning to its capability then neither is the Northern Ireland government as a whole.”
Mr Hamilton’s appointment is the second reshuffle within the Executive over the past few weeks.
The SDLP’s Alex Attwood stepped down as Environment Minister earlier this month.
He has been replaced by the party’s Derry MLA, Mark H Durkan.
All eyes are now a third expected reshuffle within the Executive.
Health Minister Edwin Poots MLA is expected to step aside soon as part of a reshuffle.
It has been expected that he will be replaced by the party’s south Down MLA Jim Wells.
Simon Hamilton was born in the Strangford constituency and he was first elected to represent in the Northern Ireland Assembly in March 2007.
Educated at Comber Primary School and Regent House School, Simon graduated from The Queen’s University of Belfast with a BA (Hons) in Modern History and Politics and a BLegSc in Law.
He began his career at a leading accountancy firm in Belfast.
He has served as deputy chairperson of the Finance & Personnel Committee between 2008 and 2009, and as a member of the Enterprise, Trade & Investment Committee.
In July 2009, the MLA was appointed by DUP leader Peter Robinson as Chairman of the Assembly’s Social Development Committee with the job of scrutinising the work of the Department of Social Development in respect of housing, social security, the community and voluntary sector and urban regeneration.
Before taking up his post on Monday, Mr Hamilton had bee private secretary Sammy Wilson.
Mr Hamilton lives in Comber with his wife Nicki and their sons Lewis and Kyle.
He list his hobbies as reading, walking and enjoys watching sport, especially his hometown football team of Comber Rec.