Autumn Statement to 'impact NI spending'

Published Tuesday, 04 December 2012
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Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has said he does not expect a decision on corporation tax from Chancellor George Osborne, but says his Autumn Statement will impact spending in Northern Ireland.

Autumn Statement to 'impact NI spending'
Sammy Wilson said he expects there to be less money available for NI. (© UTV)

The Executive has been pushing Westminster to devolve the power to set corporation tax in order to bring Northern Ireland in line with the Republic of Ireland's low rate.

Proposals on devolving the tax were handed to Prime Minister in October following the First and deputy First Minister's meeting with the Treasury in London.

But Minister Wilson told UTV he does not expect an announcement on the issue in Wednesday's Autumn Statement.

Chancellor George Osborne is set to confirm plans to invest an £5bn in new schools and other capital projects over the next two years.

Investment in schools, transport, science and skills, to be announced will be partially funded by cuts in day-to-day spending by other Whitehall departments by up to 2% over the next two years.

Health, schools, international aid, HM Revenue and Customs and nuclear decommissioning will be protected in the latest round of cuts, while local government will be exempted for the first year and the Ministry of Defence will be given flexibility to carry over saving from previous years.

The changes apply directly only to England, but will have a knock on effect on devolved governments.

Minister Wilson said that the cuts will have an impact on Northern Ireland's spending.

He explained: "It will have an effect on us, because we will get what get what's called a Barnett consequential, we will take the same percentage cut from our budgets.

"It depends if there are any budgets protected, if for example if education and health were protected, then that will be a big part of our spending which will be protected and the impact might be a bit less on Northern Ireland."

The Minister said that the impact expected will mean that there will ultimately be less money to spend, although some money will be redirected by the government into certain areas.

"At a time when the Chancellor is saying that borrowing has got out of control again, that he has to get it back under control, we are expecting some fiscal tightening.

"And if that's the case then we're going to bear the brunt of that as well as other parts of the United Kingdom, on the other hand I have been arguing that there are things that I believe he could spend money on, he could even borrow to spend money on and it wouldn't upset the financial markets and I am hoping that we will see some injection of capital spending tomorrow because that of course would be helpful in dealing with our infrastructure problems.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
petand in Londonderry wrote (786 days ago):
Aren't we a sad little bunch here. The economic roof is falling in on us but we don't mind so long as we can rant and riot over a flag. Sad, sad, sad
man in moon wrote (787 days ago):
god help them if they cut the flag buget
Mike in Belfast wrote (787 days ago):
We'll let's just see. I suspect it will be no new thinking at all. After all we mustn't expect too much as they've all been a bit busy with flags recently. So you can understand if the economy is a bit neglected as that's not half as important.
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