Budget Bill: Second Stage

Part of Executive Committee Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 6:30 pm on 9th February 2016.

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Photo of Mervyn Storey Mervyn Storey DUP 6:30 pm, 9th February 2016

I thank the Member for giving way and apologise to other Members that this may become a bit of a discussion about what is going on in Ballymena. I listened to what the Member said. However, I spoke to traders when I was in the town on Saturday, and some told me that, as a result of the rally on Saturday, their business was down — in some cases by a third. There are always challenges for our businesses for a variety of reasons. However, as the former Minister for Social Development, I still believe that the investment of £4 million in the public realm works in the centre of Ballymena is vital. There are issues with how that is managed. When I was Minister for Social Development, I came very close to suspending the contract because I was not content with the way in which some elements of it were being progressed. However, we always have to strike a balance between how we deliver and ensuring that that is done in a way that does not have a negative impact on the continuance of a business. I would be interested to hear the examples from Wales.