A strong economy will raise prosperity levels for all, Sinn Féin MLA and deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness has said.
Speaking at an economic conference in Derry, the Foyle MLA told delegates the Executive is determined to deliver new and better jobs and grow the economy during this mandate.
And he said all Ministers at the Executive table are committed to work in partnership with business leaders, and with others across society, who want to make a positive contribution to a better future.
Mr McGuinness said: “This Executive is committed to delivering for all because without a strong economy you cannot tackle deprivation, you cannot deliver the health and social care people need, you cannot improve quality of life and you cannot deliver real social change.
“During this mandate we will invest an additional £1billion in our health service, protect household budgets, support the most vulnerable in society, enhance our reputation internationally and implement the Fresh Start Agreement.
“But it’s about more than agreements, it’s about action and since May this Executive has agreed not to introduce water charges for domestic users. We have agreed to reallocate funding to where it is needed most with £72million to health, £30million for education, £20million for skills and £20million for roads. We agreed to lift the lifetime ban on blood donations by men who have sex with other men. There isn’t a home in the north of Ireland that won’t feel the positive impact from the decisions we have already taken.”
The deputy First Minister said growing the economy is key to transforming society.
He said: “We all want an economy that works for everyone, providing good jobs and the opportunity for our people to possess the skills they need to improve their lives.
“To do this we must be competitive. That won’t mean we will become one of the biggest economies in the world but it does mean we will have a well justified reputation as one of the world’s most dynamic, innovative and high performing small advanced economies.
“Our businesses and people were seriously impacted by the global recession and banking crisis, with economic output falling significantly across the private sector. Although we can’t manage factors beyond our control we must use every lever possible to mitigate the consequences and support people.
“Working together with the community, voluntary, public and private sector I am confident we can improve the lives of all our people.”