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Finance Minister gives a cautious welcome to the UK Budget

Today in the UK Budget debate in the House of Commons, Finance Minister Sammy Wilson cautiously welcomed the Chancellorís Budget announcements.
Wednesday, 20 March 2013

During the Commons debate, the Finance Minister noted the Public Expenditure announcement of a reduction to Northern Ireland Resource DEL of £20.7million and £17.5million for 2013-14 and 2014-15 but welcomed the £36.8million and £56.9million loan and equity Capital DEL allocations over the same period.

Sammy Wilson said: “I fully endorse the Government’s decision to protect front-line services in health and education. This mirrors the policies currently put in place by the Northern Ireland Executive.

“I also am particularly glad that the UK Government has acknowledged the key role that capital infrastructure enhancement has in stimulating economic growth – both short and long term.”

Moving on to tax and policy announcements, Minister Wilson warmly welcomed the decision to exempt Northern Ireland from the Carbon Price Floor – a tax measure that would have undermined the competitiveness of energy generators within the all-island market. This not only would have put jobs in the sector at risk but also would have produced higher bills for energy consumers in Northern Ireland.

Minister Wilson said: “I am particularly thankful that the Chancellor and the Chief Secretary listened to my representations on this particular issue. This was a problem unique to the Northern Ireland energy market and our concerns have now been addressed – this will be much to the relief of hard pressed households.”

The Minister also welcomed the cancellation of the expected three pence rise in Fuel Duty in September. He said: “This is another issue that I, alongside a number of Northern Ireland MPs have raised with the Chancellor on a number of occasions. Businesses will welcome this change in policy as this additional tax burden would have hit Northern Ireland businesses hard as they already pay some of the highest fuel prices in the UK.”

The Minster welcomed the announcement of the rise in personal income tax allowance to £10,000 from April 2014 which will assist 618,000 taxpayers in Northern Ireland, lifting 7,000 out of income tax altogether.

Concluding the Minister said: “The 2014-15 employment allowance of £2,000 per business will help 25,000 businesses here and lift some 10,000 out of employer National Insurance contributions altogether.”

Notes to editors:

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