The Chancellor today (22 November 2017) set out his plans to bolster a Northern Ireland Executive’s budget by £660 million, and help create an economy that is fit for the future.
This means that a Northern Ireland Executive’s block grant will increase in real terms over the Spending Review Period between 2015 and 2020. The boost will give a Northern Ireland Executive even greater spending power to bolster Northern Ireland’s productivity and increase growth, as part of a successful UK economy.
In his Autumn Budget, the Chancellor set out measures which will directly benefit Northern Ireland. These include starting negotiations for a Belfast City Deal, as part of the government’s commitment to a comprehensive and ambitious set of city deals across Northern Ireland. This would be the first ever city deal in Northern Ireland, and underlines the UK government’s commitment to ensuring Northern Ireland’s economy continues to grow - boosting investment and productivity in the process.
The government also remains committed to giving the Northern Ireland Executive the power to set the rate of corporation tax, once a restored Executive demonstrates its finances are on a sustainable footing. Subject to this, the government will consider an announcement in 2018-19 on implementing the regime. This will make Northern Ireland more competitive, attracting global business and investment.
The UK government announced today that it will freeze air passenger duty for all short-haul passengers, keeping taxes on flights departing from Northern Ireland to £13. In addition, the Chancellor confirmed that early in 2018 the UK government will publish a call for evidence to consider the impact of VAT and air passenger duty on tourism in Northern Ireland, to report at Budget 2018.
Northern Ireland is also benefiting from £1 million of LIBOR funding raised from fines levied on banks being distributed to good causes. This includes The Ely Centre Ltd which supports the physical and mental wellbeing of injured Police Officers and their families.
The UK government will also freeze fuel duty for the eighth successive year saving the average driver in Northern Ireland nearly £9 every time they fill up their car. From April 2018, the National Living Wage will be increased from £7.50 to £7.83 delivering a £600 annual pay-rise to full-time workers in Northern Ireland.
The personal allowance – the amount you can earn before you start paying income tax – will rise from £11,500 to £11,850 in 2018-19, and the higher rate income threshold will rise to £46,350. In 2018-19, increases the government has made to the personal allowance and higher rate threshold will benefit over 745,000 people in Northern Ireland who will have gained by an average of £182, compared to 2015-16. There will also be an additional £2.3 billion spent on UK-wide R&D in 2021/22.
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire said:
Today’s Autumn Budget makes great strides in building an economy that is fit for the future, one that works for everyone across the United Kingdom including in Northern Ireland.
Not only will Northern Ireland benefit from a £660 million increase in its budget, but negotiations for a Belfast City Deal will bolster local decision-making, attract investment to Northern Ireland’s shores, boost productivity, and ensure the economy goes from strength to strength.