NI Chamber comments on Budget statement

11th Mar 2020

Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget statement, Ann McGregor, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry said:

“The Chancellor’s Budget statement contains a range of measures which will be essential for protecting jobs and businesses during what is set to be a turbulent period for the economy. He has been clear that coronavirus will have a significant, negative impact on the UK economy and measures announced today to help mitigate the effect are welcomed.

“Pragmatic support with statutory sick pay, providing access to loan schemes and deferring tax payments are all the right thing to do.

“Commitments to rates relief for small business are also welcomed – the Finance Minister for Northern Ireland must now ensure that the relief is extended to SMEs here. We must have access to the same relief measures as businesses in other parts of the UK for as long as this outbreak continues.

“However, the substance of the remainder of the budget statement will not deliver the stimulus that Northern Ireland’s economy and our unique circumstances need.

“No reference was made to recent calls for the suspension of Air Passenger Duty, which could prove vital for securing Northern Ireland’s connectivity with other major cities. And on Brexit, there was also no indication of measures to help businesses here prepare for the Northern Ireland protocol.

“It is now vital that local firms are supported in the forthcoming Northern Ireland budget.”