Commenting on the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, Suzanne Wylie, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) said:
“In his Autumn Statement, the Chancellor has indicated an ambition to drive business growth and unlock investment. Whilst many of the measures targeted at a UK wide level are welcome, there appear to have been no economic game changers which are unique to Northern Ireland.
“The announcement that full expensing for companies investing in plant and machinery has been made permanent will be welcomed by the region’s most ambitious firms, who are poised to invest. Our members will also welcome the increase in the personal tax allowance, which should go some way to reducing the significant wage pressures facing four in five employers in Northern Ireland.
“However, it is particularly disappointing that within this budget there are no NI specific economic initiatives, yet we see other regions benefiting from investment zones, levelling up and direct investment in innovation. What is more, commitments made in devolved areas like planning reform, business rates and grid connection, which are urgently required, cannot be acted upon locally in the continuing absence of an Executive.
“Today, the Chancellor made 110 business related commitments and we will take time to work through the detail of how, precisely, they impact Northern Ireland’s businesses. There is a significant level of UK wide support for SME businesses, so we are particularly interested to understand how that impacts this region’s SME driven economy. It is imperative that Northern Ireland businesses are not left behind and that measures are put in place to boost our competitiveness regionally and globally.”