Hamilton Says Budget Provides Modest Boost In Public Spending

The Finance Minister Simon Hamilton MLA has welcomed the allocation of an additional £10.9million to Northern Ireland’s Resource Budget for 2015-16 as well as a further £0.5million for capital investment announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in today’s Budget.

[caption id="attachment_41113" align="alignleft" width="220"]Finance Minister Simon Hamilton MLA. Finance Minister Simon Hamilton MLA.[/caption]

Minister Hamilton said: “The Chancellor’s oft stated policy of using the proceeds of growth to pay down the deficit has continued in this Budget and this is reflected in the levels of public spending.

“Whilst modest in the context of our overall Budget and the fiscal challenges we face, an extra £10.9million for our hard pressed Resource Budget in Northern Ireland will assist the Executive in supporting key public services and underpinning economic growth. An additional £0.5million of Capital funding will add to the near £31.2billion the Executive will invest in infrastructure next year.”

However, the Minister did warn that the coming years will continue to see public spending reductions.

The Minister added: “It is important that people realise that the Executive’s Budget will continue to reduce until at least 2019-2020, meaning that tough choices and difficult decisions lie ahead. This Budget – and in particular the confirmation of public spending reductions into the near future – should underscore the importance of pursuing our focus on reforming and restructuring the public sector.”

There were a number of specific decisions taken by the Chancellor which will have a positive impact for many people in Northern Ireland. These included:

*  Farmers will be able to average their incomes over 5 years for tax purposes. *  Charities will be able to claim gift aid on up to £8,000 of small donations *  Church Roof Repair Fund to be trebled. *  No national insurance for employing under 21s from April 2015 and no national insurance for employing young apprentices from April 2016. *  Personal tax-free allowance will rise to £10,800 next year and then to £11,000 the year after. *  The end of the annual tax return. *  1p off duty on pint of beer. Cider and spirits duty cut by 2%. *  Planned September fuel duty increase cancelled. *  From April 2016, the first £1,000 of interest earned on savings will be tax free.