Northern Ireland Executive to get £21.2m spending boost in UK budget
North’s Minister for Finance Simon Hamilton welcomed additional capital allocation
North’s Minister for Finance Simon Hamilton: said there were a number of specific measures in budget 2014 that could also deliver a “positive impact”.
The Northern Ireland Executive will get a £21.2 million spending boost from the UK’s 2014 budget, according to the North’s Minister for Finance Simon Hamilton.
He said he welcomed the additional capital allocations which he said could improve the North’s infrastructure and underpin the recovery in the local economy.
Mr Hamilton said there were a number of specific measures in budget 2014 that could also deliver a “positive impact” for local people.
He said among the highlights was an increase in personal allowances – the amount people can earn before they have to pay tax – to £10,500.
An estimated 641,000 local workers will save £61 while 9,000 will escape income tax altogether as a result of the increases.
He believes a new tax-free childcare scheme could potentially benefit 170,000 children of working families while a package designed to boost small to medium sized businesses may deliver a helping hand to 98 per cent of all local firms.
But despite his upbeat analysis the Minister has also warned that the public sector in the UK is “facing a sustained period of budget constraint” which he said will have direct consequences for the North in terms of its local spending power in the near future.
Penny off pint
Bingo hall tax has been cut to 10 per cent while the industry group, Pubs of Ulster, said the decision to take a penny off the cost of a pint and freeze duty on scotch whisky and spirits would “help pubs remain afloat”.
Business leaders applauded some new initiatives contained in the budget such as the creation of the first enterprise zone near Coleraine.
It will be developed near the University of Ulster. 5Nines, a global data centre development and consulting firm, had already announced plans for a £20 million investment that is expected to create about 15 jobs at the site.
Other measures announced yesterday and designed to allow businesses “to keep more of their money to create jobs and invest in the future” have also been welcomed.