Saturday 25 November 2017

Cameron: I'm frustrated at North's lack of progress

Adrian Rutherford in London

BRITISH Prime Minister David Cameron has spoken of his frustration at the slow pace of progress towards a shared future in Northern Ireland.

Mr Cameron urged Northern Ireland to seize the opportunity of hosting the G8 and show the world commitment to a shared future.

He said the global summit, which opens in Co Fermanagh today, must increase pressure on people to complete the path towards long-term stability.

Speaking at Downing Street, Mr Cameron revealed his feelings on the pace of change.

"I have been frustrated by the speed of progress, I want these things to go faster.

"That's part of the UK government role to say look, we understand the difficulties, we know how many barriers you have to overcome," he said.

Mr Cameron also insisted he was committed to a serious discussion on reducing the rate of Corporation Tax in Northern Ireland.

"I think we've been extremely positively engaged in this issue," he added.

"We've seen the arguments, it's not without its complexities. Very few countries have differential corporate tax rates within them so it is a big issue, but we have absolutely set out a road map for a decision and a way of making that decision happen."

"But as part of the UK family we want to do everything we can to help, and that's what I did. I've always been positive about the corporation tax issue, and that's why I said to the Secretary of State to scour Whitehall, throw open all the cupboards and find every last bit of money, every policy, every scheme, every initiative, every bit of Ministry of Defence land, every government employment programme.

"Throw the whole lot in on the basis that we'll do everything we can if, in Northern Ireland, the Executive does all it can to help the process of growth and also drive forward this shared future agenda."

Mr Cameron expressed hope that the next 48 hours will deliver a lasting legacy – both for Northern Ireland and the world.

"We've had seven years of devolved institutions and the political progress is there. Now all we need to see is the economic and social progress," he said.

BRAVE

"The G8 is, I hope, helping to provide a focusing point on those issues."

And he said it was his decision to bring the G8 to Enniskillen. "This is a great location to come and visit, to trade, to set up businesses, to employ people or come for a holiday, and that is why I chose Northern Ireland," he added.

"It was very much my decision, quite a lot of people thought otherwise.

"It's a bit like Yes Minister, where people say yes, it's a brave decision, minister.

"But I feel it was the right thing to do because I think it's part of the United Kingdom which will really benefit from having the G8 and having this sort of focus on it."

Irish Independent

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