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Security Situation: Trade

Volume 613: debated on Wednesday 20 July 2016

4. What recent assessment he has made of the effect on trade of the security situation in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. (905911)

May I begin by recognising the enormous contribution of my predecessor, my hon. Friend the Member for Wyre and Preston North (Mr Wallace)? I wish him well in his new role. I am determined to build on the progress this Government have made in delivering peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland. This Government have already taken bold steps to back businesses across the UK, including reducing corporation tax and bringing the Exporting is GREAT campaign to Northern Ireland.

I, too, welcome the Minister to the Dispatch Box—he was an excellent member of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee. On trade and crime, he will know that there has been a hangover of paramilitary crime affecting trade along the border. There has been a complete delay in dealing with fuel fraud. Will he agree to meet me and the hon. Members for Tewkesbury (Mr Robertson), for Belfast South (Dr McDonnell) and for Vauxhall (Kate Hoey), and to bring along Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs officials to boot, to allow us to discuss this issue and resolve it once and for all?

I would be absolutely delighted to meet the hon. Gentleman and other Members from both sides of the House. May I just put on record my respect for the fact that he has managed to secure a £5 million trust for local employers? [Interruption.]

Order. We are discussing very serious matters, including the security of Northern Ireland, to which exchange the hon. Member for Pendle (Andrew Stephenson), who has a related question, might wish to contribute now.

10. Following the recent threat increase, will my hon. Friend assure the House that he remains absolutely committed to ensuring that our security agencies, police and others have the equipment to deal with any threats they might face? (905918)

I reassure my hon. Friend that this Government have already increased PSNI funding by £160 million, with £25 million specifically to address paramilitary activity.