Supporting Business

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons on 30th January 2019.

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Photo of Daniel Kawczynski Daniel Kawczynski Conservative, Shrewsbury and Atcham

What recent steps she has taken to support Northern Ireland’s business community.

Photo of John Penrose John Penrose The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

At the autumn Budget, the Chancellor announced £350 million for a Belfast city region deal to boost investment and productivity, and the opening of formal negotiations for a Derry/Londonderry and Strabane city region deal. Furthermore, late last year, I was delighted to announce a £700,000 investment in Randox, a County Antrim life sciences company. That investment, through the Government’s industrial strategy, should help create well-paid manufacturing jobs in Northern Ireland.

Photo of Daniel Kawczynski Daniel Kawczynski Conservative, Shrewsbury and Atcham

Government Members are starting to feel more and more like honorary Ulstermen. Will the Minister commit to increasing and expanding the city deal to other cities in Northern Ireland to help that integral part of the United Kingdom?

Photo of John Penrose John Penrose The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

I can confirm, as I have already mentioned, that the Derry/Londonderry and Strabane city deal discussions have begun, following my right hon. Friend the Chancellor’s announcement, and I am sure that everybody here hopes they will progress speedily and successfully.

Photo of Angus MacNeil Angus MacNeil Chair, International Trade Committee

We know that the business community in Northern Ireland does not want a hard border, so surely, if technology and connected promises do not avoid that, the backstop is an understandable insurance policy for Dublin and the European Union, as indeed the United Kingdom agreed in December 2017. Surely the Government will not be reneging on that promise, which is beneficial to business.

Photo of John Penrose John Penrose The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

I keep coming back to it, but Parliament voted last night and a democratic consensus has been reached. We all need to respect that decision.