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2 December 2014

Question Time: Enterprise, Trade and Investment 01 December 2014


Pam Cameron asked the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister, Arlene Foster, for an update on the air connectivity study during today's Question Time. The main focus of the air connectivity study has been an assessment of the economic impact on Northern Ireland of short-haul air passenger duty, which the Northern Ireland Centre for Economic Policy carried out. "I anticipate receipt of the report early this month, after which I shall discuss the findings with the Finance Minister and arrange for publication. Changes introduced earlier this year to state aid rules for airlines also provide an opportunity for government to provide start-up aid to incentivise new routes. We have been calling for that for some time. My Department will work closely with Northern Ireland's airports to support any bids for new routes to the UK regional air connectivity fund, which the Department for Transport launches in November".

EU Funding and Tourism Ireland were another two topics the Minister had to answer questions on. Trevor Clarke asked the Minister what plans she has to review Tourism Ireland. The Minister stated " Tourism Ireland was set up under the framework of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 and is jointly funded by the Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish Government. Any review would, therefore, have to be undertaken with that context. However, as part of the approval process for Tourism Ireland's three-year corporate plan and annual business plan, my office review Tourism Ireland's performance and ensure our key priorities are included".

During Question Time the Minister also answered questions on how many jobs have been promoted by Invest NI in North Down since 2012 and how the Ministers Department and Invest NI are preparing for the anticipated devolution of corporation tax varying powers.

You can read a full transcript on our website.