Published Wednesday, 19 March 2014
Alastair was joined on Wednesday evening by Clare Francis, Editor-in-Chief of Moneysupermarket.com, and tax expert Jim Meakin from Baker Tilly.
Along with Charlene White presenting the social media reaction, they looked at the details of Chancellor George Osborne's Budget in terms of how it will affect the general public.
Among the Budget announcements was the news that Northern Ireland is to get its first enterprise zone, based at a site adjacent to the University of Ulster campus in Coleraine.
Global data centre development and consulting firm 5NINES has already announced plans for a £20m investment at the site, leading to the creation of around 15 jobs.
Other Budget 2014 measures:
- personal income tax allowance increased to £10,500 from next year
- tax restrictions on pensioners' access to pensions removed, tax on cash removed on retirement cut from 55% to 20%
- a penny taken off a pint of beer, duty on Scotch whisky and cider unchanged
- tobacco duty rises by 2% above inflation
- the 'carbon floor' energy price frozen, meaning medium-saved businesses will save £50,000 and consumers £15 a year
- planned fuel duty rise for September scrapped
- bingo duty halved to 10%, but fixed-odds betting machines increased by 25%
The Chancellor aimed to share benefits of the economic recovery with pensioners and savers in what he branded a "budget for a resilient economy".
But UTV's Naomi McMullan told the panel that there wasn't much in the Budget targeted towards Northern Ireland.
"Expectations in Northern Ireland ahead of the Budget were pretty low, and George Osborne really did live down to it," she explained.
"There's a sense here that this was a Budget very aimed squarely at voters in the south-east of England.
"Yes, there were moves around pensions and savings but for Northern Ireland that was really it apart from that one name-check in the speech for Coleraine that's getting this enterprise zone, that sounds really good in theory but we don't know what it will mean in practice.
"Northern Ireland had enterprise zones in the past and they didn't do very well - so it's a wait and see from Northern Ireland."
The broadcast remains available for catch-up, while our main Budget breakdown article is available here.
© UTV News