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14 May 2014

Question Time: Finance and Personnel 13 May 2014

During Question Time, the Minister of Finance and Personnel responded to questions on subjects including Economic Data, INTERREG V, Corporation Tax and Private Sector Investment.

CaitrĂ­ona Ruane wanted to know what plans the Minister has to address the deficiency in economic and fiscal reports regarding the quality and timeliness of economic data. This was in response to a report published by NICVA.

The Minister stated that HMRC is not set up to produce regional data:
"Understandably, estimates will be used in circumstances where you do not have the hard and fast data.  I have tasked my officials to work very closely with HMRC, the Office for National Statistics and their counterparts in Scotland to try to ensure that the figures are as robust as possible in the absence of definitive regional figures."
The Minister also highlighted the deficit between what we raise and what we spend as a region:
"The 2011-12 net fiscal balance report, for example, shows that Northern Ireland's deficit was £9·6 billion...That accounts for 33·1% of our total gross value added. It is the equivalent of £5,311 per head in this population, compared with a UK average of £2,133."
Alastair Ross asked the Minister for an update regarding the devolution of corporation tax.
The Minister stated:
"The Government will make their decision on whether to devolve responsibility for corporation tax in the autumn, with an announcement to be made no later than the 2014 autumn statement."
Topical Questions covered the Giro d'Italia legacy; Cost of Living; Scottish Independence; PSNI/NIO:  Equal Pay Claim & Economic Recovery.

You can read the full transcript on our website.