Chancellor’s Autumn Statement highlights the challenges we face - Aiken

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Chancellor’s Autumn Statement highlights the challenges we face - Aiken

The Ulster Unionist Party’s Finance Spokesperson, Steve Aiken OBE MLA, has said that the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) assessment and projections highlight very starkly the challenges which  the UK economy faces.

Steve Aiken said:

“The Chancellor’s statement, coming so soon after his predecessor’s debacle, is a sobering acceptance of the state of our economy and public finances.

“While much effort will have to be devoted to examining the detail, it is clear that while such things as the triple pension lock have been retained and there is to be a £200 heating oil payment to all households in Northern Ireland – whether they use heating oil or not - there are now very real constraints on public spending coupled with major tax increases.

“The announcement of additional Barnett consequentials of £650M is obviously welcome and will assist in meeting pressures, but it still doesn’t disguise the very real challenges that we face.

“The OBR (Office of Budget Responsibility) assessment of our Nation entering recession, coupled with low anticipated growth rates for the next 4 years and inflation remaining above 7% for the next year at least, adds a further cold dose of reality as living standards are set to drop this year by the biggest margin since 1956 when records began.  

“Despite the additional Barnett funding, there is no substitute for having our own ministers shaping our own public services as we face into these straitened circumstances - the OBR forecast should be a wake-up call to all political parties here.