Spring Budget Statement ‘doesn’t sufficiently tackle the issues head on’ says NI Chamber

6th Mar 2024

Commenting on the Chancellor’s Spring Budget Statement, Suzanne Wylie, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) said:

“In the last budget before the next General Election, despite fiscal pressures, we had hoped to see more significant pledges which would tangibly support business and stimulate sustainable economic growth. That is always best achieved through a partnership approach, which priorities ambitious policymaking to appropriately match the scale of business ambition.

“Our member businesses are resilient; many are performing well and a majority entered 2024 with a positive outlook. However, they still face a challenging environment when it comes to costs and access to labour and this budget does not sufficiently tackle these issues head on.

“However, we welcome announcements to support global trade in Northern Ireland. Investment in specific manufacturing projects will benefit our growing life-sciences sector. Cuts to national insurance, which will help individual employees are also welcome, as is increasing the threshold for child benefit. However overall, this Statement was a missed opportunity to counter regional imbalances, provide the confidence needed to attract green investment and reduce barriers to attracting talent from around the globe.

“As always, it will take time to work through the detail and what it means for Northern Ireland as a region. What is clear is that despite an additional £100m in Barnett Consequentials, the Northern Ireland Executive will face significant challenges when it comes to dealing with its own funding shortfalls for running public services here.

“NI Chamber is already working with local Ministers, bringing forward evidence and ideas to help unlock economic growth and ensure that growing a sustainable economy is an absolute priority.”