Finance Minister, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has highlighted the efforts of the three devolved regions in encouraging the Chancellor to depart from his previous policy and greenlight an infrastructure stimulus package.
This stimulus was requested by the Finance Ministers of Wales, Scotland and the North last month, but Minister Ó Muilleoir said he was dismayed at the continuing commitment of the British Government to the “self-defeating austerity agenda”.
The Minister said: “I am glad that the Chancellor has listened to calls from the Devolved Administration Finance Ministers, who together represent 10 million people, to provide a capital stimulus.”
He continued: “The Chancellor’s announcement however does not reverse the 4.1% real terms reduction in our Resource budget which pays for the everyday running of public services. Earlier I joined my Scottish and Welsh counterparts in a conference call and we will continue to push the Conservative government to rethink their failed austerity agenda.
“The Office for Budget Responsibility’s prediction of a 2.4% drop in economic growth as a direct result of the EU referendum points up the huge challenges ahead.”
On the key issue of Corporation tax the Minister noted the confirmation of the British government’s intention to move to a rate of 17%.
The Minister said: “The Executive supports a Corporation Tax rate of 12.5% to encourage business growth and create tens of thousands of jobs. Now we have clarity on the British Government’s plans, we can move into intensive negotiations on the practical outworkings of this derogation.”