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Part of Ministerial Statements – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:00 pm on 22nd November 2016.

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Photo of Jim Allister Jim Allister Traditional Unionist Voice 12:00 pm, 22nd November 2016

I bring the Minister back to the small business empowerment zones and express my disappointment that his approach to pilots is so Belfast-centric. There is not a single rural town included, and, although the issues may be slightly different, the pilot may be beneficial there, too. I think of a town like Ballymoney, which has been ravaged by dereliction. What does a small business empowerment zone actually mean? There is no substance here about it. Is it rates exemption? Will he clarify that? On rural issues, will he confirm that he is not minded to disturb agricultural rates? Can that be taken as a given?