NIC-ICTU reaction to UK Budget

29 Oct 2018

Owen Reidy - ICTU

Speaking after today’s Budget announcement, ICTU Assistant General Secretary Owen Reidy said:  “The promise made by the Prime Minister that austerity will end is a cruel hoax. On current spending plans, day to day spending in NI will have decreased to £9.8bn (from £10.6bn in real terms) in real terms by 2019/20. Even if austerity ended this April, NI would still be £750m below where we were in 2010.

"The current chancellor is trying to give the impression that he is fixing the crooked legacy of his predecessor, but apart from a few sticking plasters on the corpse of Universal Credit, the thrust of his budget is to ensure that struggling working families keep struggling while the wealthiest retain the full confidence of this government. Hiking the tax-free allowance of workers will only boost average earnings by £132 after a decade of pay caps and wage suppression.

"Workers across the UK have endured the longest wage squeeze in 200 years, and in Northern Ireland over 1 in 4 of workforce are earning below the real living wage (28%). Northern Ireland had the highest proportion of jobs of all UK regions earning less than the real living wage of £8.75 per hour.

"Small contributions are welcome, such as the support for retailers in central Belfast and the modest contribution to a City Deal will hopefully be matched by Councils without crowding out the already tightened budgets for local services.

"The UK is not in a fair position to take the self-inflicted wound of abandoning the EU Single Market and Customs Unions.

"NI’s lack of a functioning devolved Assembly and Executive places every working family exposed to the worst effects of a Hard Brexit."