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24 September 2014

Question Time Finance - Tuesday 23 September 2014



The finance minister said he was commissioning an investigation about the possible effects of welfare reform on Northern Ireland.

The finance minister said he was commissioning an investigation into the possible effects of welfare reform on Northern Ireland.

The Minister said it should be regarded as "an independent, authoritative view on best estimate given the figures that are there and the complexities that there are within of what the effects both good and bad would be, what the costs are, what the costs of an IT system etc might be".

Danny Kinahan MLA asked the minister about the transfer of taxation powers from Westminster.

Minister Hamilton said he had a shopping list and "at the top of that shopping list is corporation tax".

He said devolved control of corporation tax was a "sizeable, chunky" power, and the aspiration was more attainable than "moonbeams", such as income tax or VAT.

The minister said he believed the Executive was "incredibly close" to attaining corporation tax powers.

Fearghal McKinney MLA asked about preparations for the 2015-16 budget.

The Minister for Finance said he had prepared a paper for the Executive but it had not been discussed and the matter had become "bogged down" in the disagreement over welfare reform.

"We are now in an incredibly challenging position with regard to the 2015-16 budget".

The minister said that welfare reform was "absolutely core and central to the problems that we are facing".