Belfast Telegraph

Durkan hails tax move

By William Allen

The SDLP leader Mark Durkan has welcomed plans to change child tax credits that will help around 130,000 families in Northern Ireland.

Mr Durkan spoke after the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, outlined details of his mini-budget yesterday in the House of Commons.

Northern Ireland's budget handout from the Government will rise to £10bn in 2010, an increase of 1.9% compared to a 2.4% rise planned for Wales.

After Mr Darling had spoken, the Foyle MP asked: "Will the Chancellor confirm, so that I can welcome, that the new, improved, child element of child tax credits will bring some benefit to the some 130,000 families in Northern Ireland?

"On the wider issues, does your earlier answer indicate that in spite of the significant, improved allocations to health and education and social housing here that we are not seeing any translated increase in the Barnett allocation for Northern Ireland beyond what his predecessor had promised to the Northern Ireland parties back in the spring?"

Mr Darling responded: "I am very happy that there is a slightly different view from Northern Ireland in relation to government expenditure because I do think that increasing the expenditure rise in terms of £10bn pounds is actually very good for Northern Ireland. I can also tell him that the money that I invest to help us meet that target of getting 100,000 children out of poverty of course includes children in Northern Ireland as it does the rest of the United Kingdom.

"The tax credit increases, I am sure, will be welcomed by many families living in Northern Ireland."

See Page 4

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