‘Refreshing’ attitude in city - Wilson

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Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has praised the “refreshing” attitude of Derry business leaders.

Mr Wilson visited the city yesterday and met with representatives of Ilex, the Chamber of Commerce, the Port and Harbour Commission, Rural Generation and the Culture Company 2013.

One of the main items on the agenda was the ONE regeneration plan, which will be presented to the Executive next month.

The finance minister said he could not give any guarantees on future funding but described the meeting as “quite positive”.

“I go and meet people sometimes and all I get from them is a shopping list. It really doesn’t matter what the context or the reality of the situation is, they just hand me a list and say they want this and this and if they don’t get it you are the worst in the world.

“The discussion here was very mature. They acknowledged what is being done and also suggested ways that money can be drawn down from other sources and asked for my help in identify new funding sources.

“When you get that kind of reaction it is actually far more refreshing than someone coming with a list and saying, ‘why won’t you do this for us?’,” he said.

However, Mr Wilson also said funding the regeneration plan will require creative thinking.

“It is going to require a lot of effort and a bit of financial tap dancing in order to make people a bit more flexible,” he explained.

He also warned that any moves to lower corporation tax must be carefully considered by the Executive in order to maintain public spending projections.