Budget Bill: Second Stage

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

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

Yet again, the Member is selective in what he wants to deal with. He has completely ignored the fact that an additional £25 million is going into skills. He just ignores the fact that we recognise the skills issue and are trying to deal with it with that £25 million. Let me also say this: he overlooks the fact that the economy of Northern Ireland is now becoming diverse, with a focus on new skills, technologies, opportunities and job creation. In fact, yesterday, in his constituency, we were able to announce the creation of an additional 88 jobs, with an average salary of £44,000. The Member can try to be dismissive of that, but I have to say that, yesterday, when I was speaking to the company's chief executive, who is from Houston in the United States of America, a story was relayed of a student who left Northern Ireland, went to England to be educated and, as a result of the company's locating in Belfast, had come back to south Belfast, to their home and to their local community, and is now employed. We want to encourage more of that and want to see it develop. The Member clearly wants to pick and choose what he focuses his attention on, and he dismisses the fact that £25 million for skills to prepare us for lower corporation tax is no small investment.

His colleague Claire Hanna referred to the women's childcare centre. I do not want to take away from my colleague the Minister for Social Development, but all that I will say is watch this space. We will not be doing what was suggested by her party and taking £800,000 out of the victims' sector and putting it into that.