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Northern Ireland Powerhouse

  1. Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central) (Lab)

    5.

    Whether the Government have plans to establish a Northern Ireland powerhouse; and if he will make a statement.[900728]

  2. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Chloe Smith)

    This Government fully support business groups and civic leaders collaborating across boundaries to grow local economies. We are committed to doing our part to build prosperity right across the United Kingdom. For example, in Northern Ireland our UK industrial strategy will support business growth, employment and innovation, and boost levels of trade and investment.

  3. Chi Onwurah

    The north-east has been part of the northern powerhouse brand for some years now without succeeding in obtaining any significant investment. The Democratic Unionist Party on the other hand seems to have managed the opposite trick of receiving £1 billion of investment without any scrutiny, oversight or branding—or at least not one that it would be orderly of me to cite. Does the Minister agree with me that it is far better to have the money without the branding than the branding without the money?

  4. Chloe Smith

    I would hope that those on both sides of the House would agree that in every part of the United Kingdom we need to see jobs growth, the growth of key industries and people living a secure and prosperous life. I am pleased to note that this morning it was announced that the Northern Ireland unemployment rate for the May to July quarter of this year has decreased again. I hope that the hon. Lady would welcome that kind of growth. I also hope that she would turn her attention to what she could do to support the economy in her own constituency. [Interruption.]

  5. Mr Speaker

    Order. There are plenty of private conversations taking place in the Chamber, but I am very keen to hear the thoughts of Mr David Simpson.

  6. David Simpson (Upper Bann) (DUP)

    Thank you, Mr Speaker. I am sure the Minister agrees with me that when Northern Ireland achieves the status of 12.5% corporation tax, along and combined with our industrial strategy, our skills base and productivity, we would be ripe for a powerhouse initiative.

  7. Chloe Smith

    There are two things to say. First, we would like to see additional economic co-operation within Northern Ireland—namely, the possibility of there being city deals. Secondly, the hon. Gentleman’s comments about corporation tax clearly remind us that we need to work towards the restoration of an Executive who can take such decisions for the good of the people of Northern Ireland.