Finance Minister Mervyn Storey today said Northern Ireland is to benefit from much needed additional funding for public services.
The Minister was speaking after the Chancellor, George Osborne, announced his Budget.
Mervyn Storey said: “The additional funding of £223million for Northern Ireland over the next four years is particularly welcome at a time when our public services are facing significant budgetary pressure. This funding will help to alleviate some of this pressure, as well as allowing us the flexibility to allocate additional funding towards health, skills and education.”
The Minister specifically welcomed the announcement of funding for a Northern Ireland Air Ambulance. He said: “I welcome the Chancellor’s announcement of £4.5million funding over three years for a Northern Ireland Air Ambulance, which will provide a vital service across the region.”
Commenting on the UK’s reduced rate of corporation tax of 17% by 2020, the Minister said: “This announcement will improve the affordability of Northern Ireland’s new rate of 12.5% corporation tax by April 2018. Our new rate will act as a key economic lever in making Northern Ireland even more attractive for foreign direct investment as well as boosting growth amongst local companies.”
The Minister also welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement of enhanced tax benefits for the Coleraine Enterprise Zone.
There were a number of specific decisions taken by the Chancellor which will have an impact for many people in Northern Ireland. These included:
- New tax allowances – Micro-entrepreneurs who sell services online or rent out their homes through the internet will benefit from new tax allowances.
- Stamp duty – The commercial rate of stamp duty will be reduced for lower bands.
- Fuel duty – Fuel duty will be frozen in 2016-17.
- Personal allowance – Raised to £11,500 from Aril 2017.
- Higher rate threshold – Higher Rate Threshold increased to £45,000 from April 2017
- New museums and galleries tax relief.
- New sugar levy on the soft drinks industry – To be introduced in 2018.
- Tampon tax – £12 million provided to charities across the UK.
- Capital gains tax – Reduced from 28% to 20%.
- Beer / cider / spirits duty – Frozen in 2016-17.
- ISA limits – Increased to £20,000 from April 2017.
- Lifetime ISA – From April 2017 new lifetime ISA for those under 40 with a 25% Government bonus.