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UK Budget – more money for Northern Ireland, but the devil is in the detail

By November 29, 2017No Comments2 min read

Chancellor Philip looked into his red briefcase on Budget day and pulled out a few highlights for young folk trying to get on property ladder, or anyone considering an electric vehicle. If you were planning on a diesel car in the new year, or maybe own a private jet you are going to be paying a little bit more tax.

Overall the budget forecasts show that the UK economy overall is not growing as much as expected, predicted at 1.5% for this year. Inflation is expected to peak at 3% ‘in the coming months’ with public borrowing lower than previous years, but not quite as low as expected earlier in the year.

As a result of Barnett consequentials the budget for a Northern Ireland Executive will increase by £660m up to 2021, but much of that is earmarked for capital spending. Looking at the overall block grant figures in the budget documents departmental day to day spending allocations look flat at £10bn between now and 20/21. Capital spending is £1.3bn this year rising to £1.5bn in 20/21. The document also states “upon restoration” of a Northern Ireland Executive the government will open negotiations on a city deal for Belfast. A further carrot for the establishment of an Executive in Northern Ireland.

In another move that could benefit Northern Ireland, the government will publish a call for evidence which will consider the impact of VAT and Airport Passenger Duty (APD) on tourism in Northern Ireland, to report at Budget 2018. Given there have been long running campaigns on these issues its an opportunity for interested parties to push for change. The government also confirmed a commitment to devolution of corporation tax “once a restored Executive has demonstrated that its finances are on a sustainable footing” so there are some bridges to cross yet. Also stated there may consider an announcement on implementation in 2018/19. (That carrot again)