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The main role of the Department of Finance and Personnel in respect of the Executive’s response to the economic downturn is to facilitate and assist other Departments as they provide support to local households and businesses in the economic downturn.
I announced the formation of a construction industry forum procurement task group for Northern Ireland in the Assembly on 15 December 2008, and the Executive’s reviews of rating, regional rate freeze and the deferral of water charges have all helped many households. Furthermore, non-domestic rating policy has benefited small businesses and manufacturing companies, and a 10-day prompt-payment initiative was announced in November 2008 to assist suppliers’ cash flow. Moreover, significant additional support was provided to local firms and businesses as part of last year’s in-year monitoring process.