THE First and deputy First Ministers have left Downing Street on Friday afternoon with support for Northern Ireland’s private sector.
Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness met with with Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne in London where they discussed a major boost for business in the region.
Following the meeting Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness unveiled the economy package agreed behind the doors of No 10.
* a temporary increase in borrowing powers to help the Executive fund the shared future programme;
* an investment plan to deliver capital funding and support frontline projects;
* targeted support to promote new private sector jobs;
* initiatives to drive investment in infrastructure, promote new businesses and boost tourism;
* a social cohesion package contains measures already announced by the First Minister and deputy First Minister such as a ten year plan for bringing down “peace walls” dividing sections of the community, measures on shared schools and housing and significant regeneration projects.
* th potential for the UK Government gifting Ministry of Defence houses and bases to be used for shared future projects is also highlighted.
The measures are designed to help move Northern Ireland forward in a shared and prosperous environment, with backing from the governments of Ireland and the United States.
Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said: “Northern Ireland has taken great strides forward in recent years.
“Building on the political stability that has been achieved, the Government and the Executive are committed working together to rebalance the economy and build a genuinely shared future.
“Northern Ireland is already a great place to live, visit and do business. This Pact will go further in helping to fulfil its potential as a modern and dynamic part of the United Kingdom.”
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Next week in Fermanagh, we will show the world an increasingly outward looking Northern Ireland, that is open for business and focusing on the steps it needs to take to succeed in the global race.”
Vernon Coaker MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for NI, added: “We are proud of the role we played in building peace, and remain committed to helping build further progress and prosperity.
“Regional aid is vital for business and investment in Northern Ireland. I campaigned along with MEPs, MPs and MLAs to keep automatic assisted area status for Northern Ireland, and I welcome the news that it will be retained.
“Many outstanding issues remain, not least the impact of welfare reform in Northern Ireland. Labour will continue to work with the Executive to help build peace, progress and prosperity in every community.”