Aiken comments on Autumn statement

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Aiken comments on Autumn statement

UUP Finance Spokesperson Dr. Steve Aiken OBE MLA  has commented on the Autumn Statement issued by the Chancellor of the Exchequer earlier today. 

Speaking after the Statement was made at Westminster, Dr. Aiken said;

“Today the Chancellor delivered the Autumn statement. If you lived in England, it would sound like an attempt to influence those who still believe the Conservatives have a fleetingly slim chance of re-election next year.

“Some of the measures, including cuts in national insurance and rise in minimum wage, are to be welcomed; the making of full expensing for business will act as an incentive, though whether it will act as the stimulus to the economy that the Chancellor expects, is yet to be seen. 

“The increase in public spending, however, of around 1% in some areas, is miserly, especially as the rate of inflation is twice the level expected.

“Sadly, for Northern Ireland, with levelling up, shared prosperity and town renewal funding all being on a “pause and review” hold in the absence of an Executive, there is little cheer locally for these areas from this wider national investment.

“It is also noteworthy that further information on improved city deals and Freeports did not include any Northern Ireland projects –which we can only infer that the collective punishment being meted out over levelling up sits in these areas as well.

“ It has also been reported that the nominal Barnett consequential to Northern Ireland would be in the region of an additional £185M in funding; again, whether that can be used by our hard-pressed public service remains to be seen, although the likelihood is that it may be used to pay down last years’ overspend.

“What is clear is that not having a sitting NI Executive, arguing our corner, has real consequences for us all.”