NIC-ICTU response to today's budget

8 Mar 2017

Owen Reidy Owen Reidy, Congress Assistant General Secretary

Speaking after today’s budget announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, ICTU Assistant General Secretary Owen Reidy said:“This was a missed opportunity by the chancellor. We agree with the TUC’s Frances O’Grady that Phillip Hammond has ‘missed the opportunity to get Britain match-fit for Brexit by investing in jobs and infrastructure.’ “Brexit will have profound implications for our economy and our labour market, especially here in Northern Ireland, and the absence of any plan from this Conservative government is as obvious as it is worrying.“Analysis by the Nevin Economic Research Institute* undercuts the grand claims of generosity towards Northern Ireland. Specifically, there was an increase of £120m in block grant spending over the next three years with £90m for day to day spending and £30m for capital projects. “However, to put that in context, £90 million is 0.9% of Northern Ireland’s current day to day resource spending. The block grant is set to fall by £184m in real terms by next year alone and to fall by over 5% by 2020. Whilst any new funding is welcome, austerity will continue to be the economic narrative in Northern Ireland for many years to come.“On Corporation Tax the Chancellor regurgitated his intention to reduce the rate to 17% by 2020. The trade union movement does not believe reductions in corporation tax are necessary or desirable for economic growth, they represent a regressive tax measures that damages the public finances in the long term, and place additional tax burdens on workers and consumers. “As austerity measures continue to hit key public services and Brexit worries loom large it is obviously untenable to propose that Northern Ireland should seek to make a cut in its own corporation tax rate.” *