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Economic Downtown/Credit Crunch

Part of Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 am on 13th October 2008.

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Photo of Peter Robinson Peter Robinson DUP 2:30 am, 13th October 2008

First, the deputy First Minister and I have had a meeting, not just with the banks, but with the other lending institutions in Northern Ireland. There was a readiness and a willingness on their part to lend money, and they indicated to us that they had money to lend. In present circumstances it is obvious that they may be more careful about their requirements before they lend money.

The big issue is the building of confidence because, until last night at least, the banks were not lending money even to each other. That must be freed up, and steps have been taken internationally. It is a global problem, and the role that we have is only on the edges, particularly with the banks and lending institutions. We have done everything that we can to encourage them to get the system moving and to ensure that money flows within Northern Ireland.

Secondly, regarding the Member’s question on procurement policy, the Executive have identified in their 10-year investment strategy for Northern Ireland, an average of £2 billion per year of capital spend in the public sector. That funding came directly from HM Treasury. In the present economic climate, therefore, that should remain unaffected. It becomes important that we roll out, perhaps in an accelerated fashion, the public spend that we are planning. Using conventional means might just be a method of bringing that out more expeditiously.