Today (23 November 2016) at Autumn Statement, the Chancellor set out announcements which will build an economy that works for everyone, in Northern Ireland, and the whole of the UK.
The UK government’s decision to focus on infrastructure spending means that the Northern Ireland Executive’s budget will increase by more than £250 million through to 2020-2021, giving it greater spending power to boost productivity and promote growth in Northern Ireland.
How this increase in funding will be allocated will be decided by Northern Ireland Ministers, and will be set out by the Finance Minister when he presents his budget to the Northern Ireland Assembly next month.
The Autumn Statement also includes a range of measures that will directly benefit Northern Ireland.
Fuel duty is frozen for the seventh successive year, which should save the average car driver in Northern Ireland £10 each time they fill their tank. The National Living Wage is increasing from £7.20 to £7.50.
Northern Ireland’s prestigious universities should also benefit from the UK government’s decision to increase funding for research and innovation by £2 billion a year by 2020-21, ensuring that the UK continues to be a world leader in science and technology.
The government is also making further investments in digital infrastructure such as fibre broadband and 5G – vital in ensuring that businesses in Northern Ireland are well placed to take advantage of the opportunities presented by new technologies, and reap the benefits of greater connectivity.
Additionally, the government will meet its manifesto commitment to increase the personal allowance to £12,500. Over the last Parliament, 700,000 individuals in Northern Ireland saw an average gain of £522, due to increase to the personal allowance.
Northern Ireland, like the rest of the UK, will benefit from the decisions set out in today’s Autumn Statement, as the UK Government continues to build an economy that works for all.
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire said:
“I strongly welcome the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement today which takes forward this government’s commitment to build an economy that works for everyone, in Northern Ireland and the whole of our United Kingdom.
Northern Ireland will benefit from over £250 million infrastructure capital funding which will enable the Executive to invest in key infrastructure projects to support future growth.
New investment in research and development and changes to the corporation tax regime is designed to help business and boost productivity and innovation over the long term. The government remains committed to the devolution of corporation tax to the Executive so long as it demonstrates that its finances are on a sustainable footing.
Families and ordinary working people will welcome the rise in the National Living Wage and changes to Universal Credit to ensure people keep more of what they earn. Together with a further freeze in fuel duty saving motorists on average £10 every time they fill up their car, today’s measures will provide greater financial security and help Northern Ireland prosper and grow.”