Thu 17th Dec 2015
NI Chamber comments on NI Executive’s 2016/17 budget
Responding to the NI Executive’s 2016/17 budget, Stephen McCully, President of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber), said:
“NI Chamber welcomes the NI Executive’s Budget. We have however spent a number of months emphasising the importance of investment in skills and our message has not been heard. It is disappointing that the Department of the Economy is receiving a cut in the 2016/17 budget which doesn’t seem to complement the need to prepare for a lower rate of Corporation Tax in 2018.
“A change in the corporation tax regime is expected to change the employment market within Northern Ireland, with a need for more skilled staff to fill higher paid jobs. It is therefore vitally important that budget is allocated to the Department of the Economy to support the development of STEM programmes and retaining the Assured Skills programme which engages the FE sector to bridge the skills gaps in priority sectors such as IT, advanced engineering and financial services.
“NI Chamber therefore urges the Northern Ireland Executive to begin 2016 by reconsidering the draft budget allocations for the Department of the Economy and in particular the allocations to higher and further education and skills development initiatives which lead to the development of a higher value economy; support export development and reduce youth unemployment.”