Speaking from Washington D.C, where she is leading a delegation visiting the US capital to promote economic opportunities in Northern Ireland, Gillian McAuley, President of NI Chamber commented on the Chancellor’s Spring Budget Statement, saying:
“NI Chamber welcomes the continued focus on supporting inclusive growth in today’s Budget. From removing barriers to the workplace to incentivising investment, the test for this package of measures will be whether it is capable of swift and accessible delivery that stimulates growth at pace.
“As we work to develop Northern Ireland’s dual market access to the EU and UK as a unique opportunity for growth, on its face the investment allowance is welcome. However, to be competitive we need to see more from the government to harness the potential advantage that the Windsor Framework offers.
“There is also little in today’s announcement that will provide comfort to businesses struggling with energy costs. We know that as many as 4 in 5 of our members experienced energy cost increases in excess of 30% in Q4 22, so it is still at the top of NI business concerns. Although prices have fallen lately, flexible support for energy which accounts for further shocks to the wholesale energy price is crucial.
“Of course, one of the challenges with Westminster budgets is that many of the measures which will be applied to catalyse inclusive growth will be areas of devolved policy, including childcare. As a key part of our economic infrastructure, the test for a new Executive will be how it can match or indeed better, the measures announced today for England.”