Minister for Finance Arlene Foster:  said  while   North had benefited   from  chancellor’s decision to protect health and education in England, the Executive would still face difficult decisions ahead. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Osborne says conclusion of talks had delivered additional spending powers to Executive and had opened the door to devolution of c(...)

Four Seasons Health Care said it had “reluctantly” decided to close seven elderly care homes across the North because each of them was operating at a loss.

Homes operating at a loss and ‘no longer viable’, says Four Seasons Health Care

 Belfast facility will collaborate with companies across the UK and Europe and will employ digital technology to drive innovation. Photograph:  Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

There are two other PwC and Google innovation labs in the world, one in New York and the other in Sydney

Cillian McMinn: planning further crowdfunded projects

Teenager’s idea for ‘element cube’ proved a winner with Kickstarter donors

Kainos reported pre-tax profits of more than £5.1million for the six months to September 2015 compared to over £5.6 million for the corresponding period the previous year.

Slide relates to expenses associated with IPO

The Parliament Buildings in the Stormont Estate in Belfast

Enterprise Minister says reduced taxes will lead to more jobs

Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness, of Sinn Féin. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

New study claims unification could lead to a significant boost in GDP for the island

Northern Ireland Finance Minister Arelene Foster on Wednesday outlined details of a new funding boost for key public services in the North as a result of the latest Stormont deal including £47.6 million for health and £15 million for education. Photgraph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

More money for health, education and roads .The funding comes from previously allocated Stormont budgets that were unspent

Confirmation of the new rate and date of its introduction was outlined as part of the deal. Photograph: Getty Images

Business long envious of the Republic’s rate now able ‘to compete on even playing field’

Former minister for finance Brian Lenihan. According to testimony at the Stormont Inquiry into Nama’s sale of the ‘Project Eagle’ property portfolio in Northern Ireland Mr Lenihan had no interest in a fire sale.

According to Richard Pengelly’s testimony to Stormont inquiry, Brian Lenihan and Nama had not interest in such an eventuality

The Caterpillar job losses announcement on Wednesday is the latest blow for its workforce in the North which has been subject to a series of savage job losses over the last three years.

Move comes as other firms let 90 people go

Photograph: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Project will dramatically increase Artigarvan plant’s milk processing capacity

Stormont in Belfast. Mr Kearney said the Belfast Executive should have bought the loans portfolio, which had a par value of £4.5 billion, when it was sold to Cerberus Capital Management for £1.2 billion last April

Developer says Executive should have managed portfolio to help finance some of its challenges

   DUP pinister Arlene Foster and Alan Armstrong,   Almac Group chief executive. Almac  plans to create 180 new jobs in England as part of a £16 million investment programme.

Company acquired Athlone based Arran Chemicals last week for undisclosed sum

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson. Developer Paddy Kearney said he got in touch with Mr Robinson to ask for his help in dealing with Nama

Cerberus is ‘robust’ firm, developer tells Stormont inquiry into North property deals

Developer Paddy Kearney told the Stormont Inquiry that he was in ‘the battle of his life with Nama.

Former member of Anglo’s Maple 10 in ‘battle of his life’

The Stormont Inquoury into the sale of Nama properties in Northern Ireland heards from developer Paddy Kearney.

NI developer Paddy Kearney critical of agency in evidence to Stormont Inquiry

Multi-million pound deal gives firm all-Ireland reach

“The proposal to run down the truck tyre factory in Ballymena has been made in light of the significant downturn in demand for truck tyres in Europe since the financial crisis of 2007, which has seen the market decrease by over 5 million tyres,” Michelin said.

Company blames decline in demand for truck tyres

 Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey: he is being urged by Cameron Watt, chief executive of NIFHA, to make sure the independence of local housing associations is protected. Photograph: Alan Lewis/Photopress Belfast

Housing association chief stresses importance of independent status following UK move

Fold Housing Association together with the support of the North’s Department for Social Development (DSD) and the NI Housing Executive (NIHE) is backing an initiative, a first for the North West, which will see a construction firm assume responsibility for the site acquisition, design and construction of the multi-million pound housing project. (Photograph:   Rui Vieira/PA Wire)

One of the North’s largest housing associations is to link up with private developer in £7m project

Belfast city centre: SMEs account for 75 per cent of turnover and employment in the local private sector in Northern Ireland. Photograph: Pacemaker.

Most local SMEs plan to grow their businesses over the next two years

SDLP Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone said: “Investors don’t care much about party politics but when that impacts on political stability, as it has here, they think twice about where they locate their business.”

Surveyors’ research highlights fall in public works

The factory in Dunmurry where the DeLorean DMC-12 sports car was all too briefly manufactured has been celebrating a milestone anniversary of its own

Motor components company Montupet marks its 26th year in famous car plant

The Treasury Building, home to Nama, in Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

US investor Cerberus’s winning bid for agency’s loans is now the subject of inquiries

Frank Cushnahan: Nama said he  never disclosed any interest to it relating to Pimco or its attempts to buy the loan portfolio. Photograph: Press Eye

Cushnahan was on advisory board at time of Project Eagle proposal

The new jobs will be located in the constituency of the North’s acting First Minister, Arlene Foster. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Teleperformance already employs nearly 2,000 between Bangor and Newry

Northern Ireland’s former first minister Peter Robinson  is seen on screen testifying before the Nama inquiry at Stormont. Photograph: Pacemaker

DUP leader testifies at Stormont inquiry into sale of agency's portfolio

Sinn Féin’s Máirtín Ó Muilleoir led the questioning of Peter Robinson. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA

Former First Minister visibly frustrated by certain lines of questioning led chiefly by Máirtín Ó Muilleoir

DUP leader Peter Robinson, who has temporarily stepped aside as First Minister in the North, said he had no concerns about Frank Cushnahan’s involvement in the meeting despite his ongoing role at the time with the Nama advisory committee. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Meeting included investment firm Pimco and Ian Coulter, former managing partner of Tughans

Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party leader Peter Robinson is scheduled to appear before the Stormont inquiry on Wednesday.  Photograph: Getty Images

Daithí McKay says written evidence is no substitute for chance to questioning

 PicoPUF was founded in 2013 by three  researchers from Queen’s University (above). Photograph: Alan Betson

PicoPUF wins Invent Award in the North that pitches hi-tech geniuses against each other

Arlene Foster: The Department of Finance and Personnel  has no records to suggest that departmental officials had ‘sight’ of correspondence, according to the acting First Minister. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Inquiry told no detail on meeting between former finance minister and American law firm Brown Rudnick

Taste of Northern Ireland:  the tourist board is preparing to serve up a new initiative to attract visitors

Ballygally Castle Hotel on the Antrim coast is offering ‘Game of Thrones’ afternoon tea and tourists are flocking there to sample (...)

The British treasury estimates it would cost the Northern Ireland Executive about £325 million (€440 million) to cut the corporation tax rate in the North. Photograph: PA

Northern business umbrella group says figure would be close to £192m

Edward Carson’s statue in Stormont. Two business figures in the North, accountant David Watters and property developer Andrew Creighton are to be invited to appear before the Stormont inquiry investigating the sale of Nama’s Northern Ireland “Project Eagle” loan portfolio. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA

David Watters and Andrew Creighton invited to attend investigation into sale of Nama’s NI portfolio

B&Q has said it will be focused on “redeploying” as many people as possible

Stores closing at Sprucefield, Ballymena, Craigavon, Derry and Belfast

The North is forecast to have one of the highest rates of house-price growth in the UK this year

New property bubble not forecast as ‘buying public are much more educated’

Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and CBI Northern Ireland chairman Colin Walsh  at the CBI annual lunch . Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye.

Lobby wants to see reform of Executive

Jamie Bryson leaving Parliament Buildings in Belfast: He told  the finance and personnel committee that former first minister, Peter Robinson, was one of five people earmarked to benefit from the Project Eagle sale. Robinson denies the claim. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

McGuinness tells a Stormont inquiry he was ‘kept in the dark’ about Project Eagle sell-off

DUP leader and former Northern Ireland first minister Peter Robinson. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

DUP leader rejects allegation made by loyalist blogger as ‘scurrilous’

 DUP leader and Former Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson.  A loyalist blogger and flag protestor on Wednesday alleged that the former first minister, Peter Robinson, was one of five people earmarked to financially benefit from the sale of Nama’s portfolio in the North. Photograph:  Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

McGuinness ‘kept in dark’ about controversial Nama deal

 Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness is the first senior politician who has agreed to appear at the committee. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Committee to debate whether Jamie Bryson’s evidence should be aired in public

Sir Edward Carson’s statue at Stormont: keeping lights on in the parliament might seem a challenge due to gloomy political backdrop in the North. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Unified approach to electricity – between Soni and EirGrid – benefits the whole island

Report  commissioned by NISP Connect, an independent, non-profit organisation at the Northern Ireland Science Park, measured data on exports, productivity, gross value added and wages

Knowledge Economy report shows NI supported 410 new business start-ups last year

The North’s long-term jobless rate of 58 per cent is nearly twice that of the UK

Unemployment rate stands at 6.2 per cent

Cerberus say it had contact with Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson (above) and former minister of finance Simon Hamilton before the acquisition of Nama’s North portfolio. Photograph:   Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

New York investment firm that bought Nama portfolio in North met Peter Robinson and Simon Hamilton among others

Lord Mayor of Belfast Arder Carson who is going to Boston to encourage investment. Previous visits by politicians to the US have proved fruitful but there is not even a minister for enterprise in the North at the moment. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Visits to the US to encourage investment in Belfast are a challenge in current climate

Mr  Frank Cushnahan. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Presseye

Former Nama advisor denies conflict of interest and legality of recordings of his phone calls in office of bookmaker Sean P Graham(...)

Shopping in Newry. The Northern Ireland Retail Consortium has warned that political instability could damage consumer confidence.

Retail body warns that political turmoil could also damage future investment

 The combined turnover of housing associations in the North was £214 million last year Photograph: Laura Hutton

More new social houses constructed in North than in average area in Britain

The new operations centre will be based in Belfast

Manchester headquartered business service firm opening contact centre

Minister for Fisheries Michelle O’Neill: she  is more preoccupied with the dairy crisis in the North which has been sparked by the steep drop in milk prices. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Sea Source urging more businesses to buy fish and shellfish caught by local fishermen

Randox’s  telecoms infrastructure upgrade will involve laying down 12 kilometres of fibre-optic cable, stretching from Nutts Corner to the Lough Neagh shoreline. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Biotechnology firm also creates new network to deliver superfast broadband in Antrim

Property developer Gareth Graham (centre) leaving Stormont after speaking to the inquiry about his dealings with Cerberus. Photograph: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

Graham tells Stormont inquiry US firm had adopted approach that was unreasonable

Northern Ireland businessman Gareth Graham (centre) leaving Stormont after speaking to the Nama inquiry. Photograph: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker

Businessman says he is legally in possession of recorded calls made by Frank Cushnahan

A prominent Northern Ireland businessman, Gareth Graham, who is currently engaged in a legal battle with the American investment fund that acquired Nama’s former portfolio in the North, is to give evidence to the Stormont inquiry investigating the sale.

Graham is property developer involved in legal battle with US firm Cerberus

“I don’t think there was a proper debate about what a lower rate of corporation tax could mean. I believe it could be a game-changer”

Some of the current directors of Northern Ireland plc have not quite fulfilled their responsibility

Belfast’s Titanic museum. The North is now the sixth most affluent part of the UK, according to Barclays. Photograph: Getty

Barclays research suggests property market is a driver behind new generation of wealth

Belfast-headquartered UTV Media group confirmed yesterday it is in discussions with a view to a potential sale of its television assets. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Ulster Unionist party leader urges Northern Ireland-based buyout

The committee met briefly on Thursday to establish its next step in the inquiry Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Group investigating the £1bn sale of Nama’s Northern loan book to Cerberus

Karen and Darren Gardiner: When Gardiner and his wife opened the first Ground Espresso Bar in 2001 in Coleraine it was more of a ‘hobby’ than a purely business venture he admits.

Shoppers are spending less in the North except in new coffee bars

Derry’s guildhall: the North’s unemployment rate of 6.5 per cent remains above the UK average rate of 5.6 per cent. Photograph: Gavan Donnelly

Union leaders worried about future of 140 roles at Maydown engineering plant

Greentown Environmental specialises in the treatment and eradication of invasive and potentially noxious weeds and currently treats 27,000km of footpaths. Photograph: Jack McManus

Award-winning entrepreneur John Ross Armstrong builds thriving weed-control business

A group of Strabane farmers turned up at their local Asda store and cleared all the milk supply off the shelves after the supermarket advertised its own brand milk at 45 pence per pint. Photograph: Getty Images

At current prices, many farmers are actually losing money on each litre of milk they sell

Belfast International Airport’s managing director said United’s decision was a positive development for the local economy. Photograph: Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Belfast International Airport director welcomes resumption of full-year service ‘lifeline’ for US firms

Northern Ireland’s Minister for Enterprise Jonathan Bell hailed Decora Blind Systems, which is creating 80 jobs in Antrim, as a “dynamic, innovative business”. Photograph: Aaron McCracken/Harrisons/PA

Family owned business currently employs 500 across sites in Lisburn and Birmingham

The Danske Bank study reveals that the lowest levels of consumer confidence were displayed in Carrickfergus and Antrim

New survey shows confidence has fallen right across North

The North’s Finance Minister Arlene Foster has welcomed the decision by Teleperformance to operate the Enniskillen contact centre. Photo: PA Wire

French owned Teleperformance to manage and operate Liberty Mutual’s contact centre

Minister for Enterprise Jonathan Bell says it is “vital”  the North has control over corporation tax. Photograph: Aaron McCracken/Harrisons/PA

Political leaders have let opportunity to grasp tax devolution slip further through their fingers

British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers feels deal is issue for NI Executive

Dairy cows in a row

Poor returns to farmers in ultra-competitive market leads Ballyrashane and Town of Monaghan to form LacPatrick

The ink is dry at last on the rumoured £8 million deal for Northern Ireland’s only five-star golf resort

Fermanagh-born businessman spent 10 years developing the property

 Frank Cushnahan was involved in a deal that helped to establish Belfast’s highly successful Titanic Quarter. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Former member of Nama advisory committee helped shape life in NI, for better or worse

Ian Coulter former managing partner at Tughans law firm in Belfast. Tughans has rejected claims by Mr Coulter concerning a bank account which contained £7.5 million.

Ian Coulter says he personally informed law firm about account which contained £7.5m

Former managing partner at Tughans Law Firm, Belfast Ian Coulter: Said the money which “has been called into question” – and which he said was actually £7.5 million – “was part of the total legal and consultancy fees”.

Belfast lawyer Ian Coulter: No politician in NI or relatives was ‘ever to receive any monies’

Tughans offices in Belfast city centre. Photograph: Justin Kernoghan/

HMRC says its team is expected to recover nearly £18 million in Northern Ireland

Frank Cushnahan: moved from one key private sector appointment to another across a wide spectrum of industries

Businessman is one of the figures at the heart of revelations around the sale of Nama portfolio in North

Business in Northern Ireland broadly welcome UK chancellor George Osborne’s budget.

Employers broadly positive on other aspects of fiscal plan

Demonstrators outside the House of Commons as UK chancellor George Osborne set out his plans to reshape the country’s economy with the first budget of the new Conservative government on Wednesday. Photograph: Paul Hackett/Reuters

Cost of block grant to be reduced by £300m annually, government estimates

Nama sold €5.6 billion worth of loans against northern Irish properties to Cerberus for €1.7 billion in June 2014. The US fund hired US lawyers Brown and Rudnick, along with  Northern Irish firm Tughans, as advisers. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Agency ‘very confident . . . we achieved the maximum value for the Irish taxpayer’

Mick Wallace TD outside Leinster House on Kildare Street, Dublin, July 7th, 2015. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

PSNI says no formal criminal inquiry under way in relation to Mick Wallace’s allegations

 Alban Maginness: says it is important that Northern Ireland’s integrity as a place to do business is not undermined by any further revelations from the sale of Nama’s loan portfolio

Alban Maginness calls for full disclosure about transaction process

Lanyon Plaza, one of the larger assets in the portfolio

Nama's activity in the North has been plagued by questions

The quality of higher education in Derry was a factor in the investment decision

OneSource Virtual plans a human resources outsourcing operation in its first European investment

The Brazilian Cisne Branco (white swan), one of the 50 tall ships taking part in the 2015 tall ships race, docked in Belfast harbour.  Photograph: PA

All of the ships will be berthed around Belfast Harbour and the Titanic Quarter

Europa Hotel in Belfast,

Growing confidence in Northern Ireland when it comes to tourism and hospitality sectors

Virgin said initial response to the Belfast-Orlando summer route had been very positive. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Airline plans to run route again in 2016 after strong demand for the service

NI enterprise minister Jonathan Bell

Minister calls for government and business to work together

NI Finance Minister  Arlene Foster.  Her first budget has cross-party support.  Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Business leaders warn that it has not solved all financial challenges

Metaverse Mod Squad provides services to major corporations, government and not-for-profit organisations to engage with people on a personal level across mobile, ecommerce, in game, applications and other social medial channels.

Metaverse Mod Squad has clients in more than 50 countries

Jonathan Bell, Northern Ireland’s Minister for Enterprise, said the decision to expand its aerospace production facility represented a “step change” for the company

Investment backed by Invest NI with financial support worth £400,000

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness: political leaders are continuing to campaign to the UK Treasury for a reduction in air passenger taxes specifically from the North.

Improving connectivity seen as essential

Derry city. Choice Housing Association, which has been established following the merger of Trinity, Oaklee and Ulidia Housing Associations, currently has more than 10,000 homes on its books and a property portfolio valued at more than £700 million.

Investment programme of £340m to run over five years

Separate statistics also show there was a fall in the number of people claiming jobless-related benefits last month

Data reflects the challenges faced by region as youth unemployment remains a concern

Dr Norman Apsley  became chief executive of the Northern Ireland Science Park in 2000  and has helped shape the park into a thriving eco-system for start-ups, entrepreneurs and investors. Photograph: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker

The city’s Titanic Quarter is hosting MoneyConf and EnterConf for the first time

Almac Discovery, the Northern Ireland biopharmaceutical company, has agreed a drug development deal with Genentech which could be worth more than £225 million (€311 million).

Craigavon based company will initially receive an upfront payment of more than £9m

McGinnis Developments has re-financed its Cerberus controlled assets.

Original holding company will be able to participate in planned long-term development

Skunkworks Surfboard Company founders Ricky and Chris Martin have secured £100,000 in grants and established a surfboard manufacturing facility in Coleraine, Co Derry.

Chrish and Ricky Martin seek funding for Skunkworks Surfboard Company

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