Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has welcomed the key role that capital infrastructure has on stimulating economic growth and that this has been reflected in the Chancellor’s 2015-16 financial allocations to the Northern Ireland Executive.
The Minister was speaking following the Chancellor’s 2015-16 UK Spending Round announcement.
Sammy Wilson said: “Today’s outcome is as good as could be expected for Northern Ireland. Whilst it was inevitable that we would have to share the impact of the austerity drive applied to the UK Budget, the continuation of the UK Government’s decision to protect front-line services in health and education has a direct benefit for the Northern Ireland Executive’s Budget. It means that the impact of the reductions applied at a Whitehall level is somewhat mitigated for Northern Ireland.”
During the Commons debate, the Finance Minister noted the Northern Ireland Resource DEL budget of £10.2billion, including £9.6billion of non-ringfenced Resource DEL; and a Capital DEL budget of £1.1billion for 2015-16 which represents a significant increase from the 2014-15 position as outlined in Budget 2011-15.
The Minister said: “I 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.
“This is a point I made strongly to the Chief Secretary when we recently met in Belfast and reflected in a subsequent joint letter from the Devolved Administrations to the Chancellor. This will aid our construction industry and I hope to follow up this good news with a further announcement of capital investment next week.”
The Minister also welcomed the confirmation of the additional borrowing power for 2014-15 and 2015-16 which had been agreed in the Economic Pact.