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Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish Leaders Seek Capital Investment

Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) -- The First Ministers of the devolved U.K. administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland urged Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to finance extra capital investment aimed at boosting economic growth.

The three administrations should also get more freedom to raise revenue and borrow money to fund growth without having their grants from central government cut to compensate, Alex Salmond, of the Scottish National Party, Carwyn Jones, of the Labour Party in Wales, and Peter Robinson, of the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland, said in an e-mailed statement today.

“While we recognise that budgetary responsibility is vital in returning the public finances to a sustainable footing, we continue to believe that the best way to achieve this is through the promotion of economic growth,” they said in the statement.

The U.K. economy unexpectedly shrank 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, the Office of National Statistics said on Jan. 25. Prime Minister David Cameron pledged the following day to stick to plans to cut spending and raise taxes to eliminate the budget deficit.

The three leaders said Osborne should ensure small- and medium-sized businesses get more access to affordable finance, and take action to counteract rising fuel and transport costs, to ensure that economic recovery “remains on track.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Woodifield in Edinburgh at pwoodifield@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net.

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