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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 August 2006, 19:51 GMT 20:51 UK
Call for single NI economy body
Stormont
The committee has been meeting over the summer
Responsibility for NI's economy should be centralised within a single government department or agency, a Stormont all-party group has said.

At the moment, it is divided between seven different government departments.

The group also acknowledged that lack of cross-party agreement over devolution and policing issues would hinder business investment.

The report by the economic sub-group of the Preparation for Government Committee contains 21 recommendations.

Other proposals include tax incentives to encourage high value-added foreign investment, grants for research and development in collaboration with the universities and improved science education.

They also called for the Planning Service to take account of the needs of the economy.

Further investigation

The committee wants to investigate further the issue of low corporation tax in the Irish Republic.

It recommends that any economic package accompanying a restoration of devolution should focus on community regeneration, infrastructure development, education and skills as well as tax incentives.

All five parties on the sub-group have agreed the report but it is still being discussed by the main Preparation for Government Committee.

It is understood Sinn Fein want more specific details on the nature of a peace dividend before agreeing to debate the sub-group's report in the Stormont Assembly chamber next month.

The Preparation for Government Committee was set up to identify obstacles to the return of devolution. It has been meeting over the summer months.


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