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Autumn Statement Chancellor Philip Hammond: Northern Ireland to get extra £250m in infrastructure funding

By Claire Williamson

Published 23/11/2016

A video grab from footage broadcast by the UK Parliament's Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU) shows Chancellor Philip Hammond deliver Autumn Statement. Pic: HO/AFP/Getty Images
A video grab from footage broadcast by the UK Parliament's Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU) shows Chancellor Philip Hammond deliver Autumn Statement. Pic: HO/AFP/Getty Images

Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced the Northern Ireland Executive will receive an extra £250m in infrastructure funding as part of his Autumn Statement.

Mr Hammond's statement gave a window in to the economic state of the United Kingdom following the Brexit vote.

The chancellor said the EU Referendum vote will "change the course of Britain's history" and "makes more urgent than ever the need to tackle our economy's long-term weaknesses" including the productivity gap.

The Chancellor in his statement said his focus would be on increasing productivity in infrastructure and innovation.

<< Read the Autumn Statement in full >>

 

Northern Ireland's Finance Minister Mairtin O Muilleoir welcomed the funds allocated for Northern Ireland through the Barnett Formula over the next four years.

He tweeted: "More infrastructure funds welcome but lower growth forecast continuing austerity and cuts to resource budgets mean 'turbulence' still ahead."

Fuel duty was frozen for the seventh successive year, which should save the average car driver in Northern Ireland £10 each time they fill their tank.

In addition the National Living Wage is increasing from £7.20 to £7.50

Northern Ireland’s universities should also benefit from the UK Government’s decision to increase funding for research and innovation by £2billion a year by 2020-21.

The government is also making further investments in digital infrastructure such as fibre broadband and 5G mobile phone network coverage.

The Treasury said this will be vital in ensuring that businesses in Northern Ireland are well placed to take advantage of the opportunities presented by new technologies.

Additionally, the government has pledged to 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.

Support for millions

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said his statement "delivers for Northern Ireland".

He said: "The investments I have outlined today will have benefits right across the Union.

“Research and development funding will benefit the United Kingdom as a whole and where responsibility for infrastructure investment rests with the devolved administration in Northern Ireland, they will receive the appropriate funding share.

“The decisions I have announced today mean that Northern Ireland will receive very significant additions of £250m to its capital budget.”

“This Autumn Statement sets out how we will support our economy as we begin writing a new chapter in our country’s history.

"It signals our support for millions of hardworking families who are struggling to make ends meet and our determination to ensure every household has opportunity to share in the nation’s prosperity.

"This is an Autumn Statement which delivers for Northern Ireland.”

Welcoming the statement Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire said the funding will "enable the Executive to invest in key infrastructure projects to support future growth".

He said: “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. 

"This 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.”

Reaction

The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association welcomed the focus on infrastructure investment.

NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: “We would urge the Executive to make the York Street Interchange a top priority for funding”

“Increasing the personal tax allowance is a positive step, allowing working people to keep more of their salaries and hopefully spend more in our retail sector”

“Continuing the freeze on Fuel Duty gives some savings to our members who have vans and for hard-pressed consumers”

“The Chancellor announced that every city in Scotland is on course for a City Deal. We now need to see greater progress in securing City Deals for Belfast and Derry from the Executive and the UK Government”

Alliance finance spokesman Stephen Farry said the statement passes challenge to Executive to invest in the economy.

He said: "This Statement is a mixed bag of outcomes. Strangely, there was hardly any mention of Brexit, which is the biggest economic challenge facing the UK in a generation, and which potentially brings severe economic consequences for Northern Ireland.

“It is a relief the Chancellor is belatedly slowing the base of austerity and the rebalancing of the public finances. Many stakeholders, including Alliance, have been recognising the need to address the deficit, but at a slower pace. Nevertheless, there is still a difficult challenge ahead.

“Locally, there will be much focus on the additional resources now available to the Executive for infrastructure investment. This money now needs to be spent wisely and strategically, and perhaps the York Street interchange can now be advanced.

“But our Executive also takes note of the growing emphasis of addressing the UK’s overall productivity challenge, which is also even more acute here, and recognise investments needs to be made across all of the key drivers of the local economy, including both skills and research, alongside infrastructure.”

DUP MP Sammy Wilson said Northern Ireland can give a "broad welcome" to the statement.

"Firstly, the announcement that the Executive will receive an additional £250milllion of capital funding will be welcomed by everyone. Whilst the Executive will have to decide exactly what this funding will be directed towards, there has been a particular focus on the York Street Interchange recently.

"The commitment by HM Government to continue with plans to reduce Corporation Tax is also good news for the Executive. As the UK rate decreases, the cost for the Executive to introduce the 12.5% rate is also cut.

"The recognition too that economic growth across the UK has been imbalanced is positive. It is important the Government takes steps to ensure that all parts of the country benefit from economic growth, and I would hope Northern Ireland can capitalise on this.

"One area of concern however is the reliance on long-term forecasts which have not always proven to be reliable. Many of the short-term forecasts for growth have been wrong, and there is the possibility that more negative predictions can become a self-fulfilling prophesy. This is of concern for Northern Ireland because we tend to be more impacted by lower growth than other UK regions."

Autumn Statement as it happened

The economy has bounced back from the depths of recession

We solve today to confront challenges head on to prepare our country to seize opportunities ahead and build an economy that works for everyone.

Where every corner of this UK is part of our national success

Prepare our economy to be resilient as we exit the EU

Growth forecast for 2017 revised down from 1.4% from 2.2%

Forecasts growth will slow to 1.4% next year, due to lack of investment and greater uncertainty

We no longer seek to deliver a surplus in 2019/20

Public finances should be returned to balance as early as possible

No further welfare cuts in this Parliament beyond those already announced

OBR forecasts growth of 1.7% in 2018, 2.1% in 2019 and 2020 and 2% in 2021. OBR's view is that referendum result means potential growth over period 2.4 percentage points lower.

OBR forecast borrowing set to be 68.2bn this year

Borrowing forecast for 2016/17 revised up to 68.2bn from 55.5bn

John McDonnell outperforms Ed Balls in fiscal incontinence sweepstakes, says PH, adding: "but we don't know if he can dance yet"

We choose to prioritise additional high value investment in infrastructure and innovation that will directly contribute to raising Britain's productivity

New national productivity investment fund 23bn to be spent on innovation and infrastructure over next 5 years. Investing today for the economy of the future

£2.3bn housing infrastructure fund for up to 100,000 new homes

£1.1bn for English local transport network

Will invest more than £1bn in digital infrastructure - My ambition is for the UK to be a world leader in 5G

More than £250million extra infrastructure funding for Northern Ireland Executive

Allocation from the local growth fund for English regions

Further £102m of LIBOR bank fines to Armed Forces and Emergency Services charities

£20m [from LIBOR] to support the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre at Stanford Hall in Nottinghamshire

Chancellor says he will save Wentworth Woodhouse near Rotherham

2,500 prison officers to tackle urgent prison safety issues

Corporation Tax will fall to 17% by far the lowest rate of overall corporate tax in the G20

Increase rural rate relief to 100%

Insurance premium tax to rise from 10% to 12% June 2017

Large businesses will always pay tax - business cannot avoid tax by borrowing excessively in the UK to fund overseas activity

Confirmation that personal allowance will rise to £12,500 and higher rate of tax to £50,000 by 2020

Chancellor: We’ll deliver on our commitment to raise the Personal Allowance to £12,500 by the end of the parliament

The National Living Wage will increase from £7.20 to £7.50 in April 2017

From April the Universal Credit taper rate will be reduced from 65% to 63%

I can announce today that we will ban [letting] fees to tenants as soon as possible

In early 2017, we’ll begin the roll out of Tax-Free Childcare across Britain - a saving of up to £2,000 per child

Government cancelling the fuel duty rise for the seventh successive year

Abolishing Autumn statement

Starting in 2017 Britain will have an autumn Budget, announcing tax changes well in advance of the start of the tax year

Upcoming Spring Budget will be the last as we move to one fiscal event a year – the Autumn Budget

                                                                                                                                                 

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