Chancellor Philip Hammond has delivered his last Budget before Brexit with Northern Ireland in line for a huge multi-million boost.
The Chancellor told MPs that "austerity is finally coming to an end" as he hailed a significant improvement in public finances. He said there would be "larger sums to come" as result of forthcoming spending review.
For Northern Ireland he handed an extra £320million for "a Northern Ireland Executive," £350m for the Belfast City Deal, £2m to help with the Primark Bank Buildings recovery and the bringing forward of £300m projects for shared and integrated education which is funded through the Fresh Start Agreement.
The Belfast city deal project - which encompasses the five adjoining council areas - had sought £450m. They welcomed the council's announcement.
Mr Hammond also pledged to begin formal talks for the Derry city region deal as well as commission work on the impact VAT and air passenger duty (APD) has on tourism in Northern Ireland. He said that while there will be no change, the government will explore "ways to support a successful and growing tourism industry". A working group will be established to consider the practical and legal challenges to changing short-haul APD in Northern Ireland.
The national minimum wages is also to rise to £8.21. While duty on beer, cider and spirits frozen for a year but tax on wine will rise with inflation and white ciders to be taxed at a higher rate.
Mr Hammond announced a £1billion package of measures over five years to support Universal Credit, and said he was increasing work allowances in Universal Credit by £1,000 a year at a cost of £1.7billion annually, helping 2.4m working families with children and people with disabilities by £630 per year.
“My Budget sends a clear message to the people of Northern Ireland– your hard work is paying off," Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond said.
“Thanks to the UK government’s careful stewardship of the economy the public finances are in a much stronger position and national debt is falling.
“This means we have more money to invest in Northern Ireland’s future – including £320 million funding for the Northern Ireland Executive, £350 million for a Belfast City Region Deal and £2 million to support the regeneration of Belfast city centre.”
Philip Hammond told MPs that "austerity is finally coming to an end" as he hailed a significant improvement in public finances.
The Chancellor said the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) expected "resilient" growth over the coming years.
In the final scheduled Budget before Brexit, Mr Hammond announced am extra £500m for no-deal preparations.
And he hinted that an emergency Budget could take place in the Spring, adding: "If the economic or fiscal outlook changes materially in-year I reserve the right to upgrade the Spring Statement to a full fiscal event".
In a boost for Mr Hammond:
Mr Hammond said his Budget was aimed at helping "the strivers, the grafters and the carers" and would pave the way for a "brighter future".
His comments come after Prime Minister Theresa May promised she was ending years of austerity.
Downing Street has insisted that the Budget's spending announcements are fully funded, regardless of whether the UK secures a Brexit deal, in what has been viewed as a rebuke to the Chancellor.
Mr Hammond warned at the weekend that his economic plans depend on a successful outcome to the Brexit negotiations with Brussels.
Speaking in the Commons Mr Hammond said he was promising a "Budget for hard-working families" and told MPs "we have reached a defining moment on this long, hard journey" after repairing the damage to the public finances caused by the financial crash.