Commenting from his Department’s Headquarters in Belfast Mervyn Storey said:
“I welcome this opportunity to serve all the people of Northern Ireland and I take the responsibility of managing our public finances very seriously.
“My priority, as the new Finance Minister, is to build on the agreed Executive budget as the foundation needed to put Northern Ireland on the right path to reforming and renewing our public services and stimulating economic growth.
“In spite of an increasingly challenging financial climate, the 2016/17 budget provides the stability that’s needed to get Northern Ireland moving forward. It delivers for the people by protecting health and providing a boost for education and skills as well as funding major infrastructure projects for the next four years, which is good news for the construction sector and the wider economy.
Addressing the issue of additional funding for flood relief the Minister explained:
“I will be working with the leading Departments on their flood relief proposals for next week’s Executive meeting. I want to do everything within my power to effectively use the £1.3million to help those in urgent need as well as addressing longer-term flood prevention measures.”
Turning to specific policy matters Mervyn Storey commented:
“The rate and date for the devolution of corporation tax has been set at 12.5% from April 2018 and I will continue the work already underway to deliver this step change needed to enhance our economic performance and benefit everyone in Northern Ireland.
“My Department is currently carrying out a consultation on the review of Northern Ireland’s non-domestic rating system and I want to encourage feedback, particularly from those in the business community. It’s important we hear as many views as possible to help shape the rating system to meet the specific needs of Northern Ireland at both a regional and local level.”
In conclusion the Minister explained:
“I don’t underestimate the challenge ahead with tight budgets and greater demands on our public services but I am determined to do my bit to improve services, raise productivity and reduce costs in the public sector.”