Commenting on the Chancellor’s autumn budget and spending review, Ann McGregor, Chief Executive, NI Chamber said:
“The Budget contains some measures which will help business and economic recovery. However, with inflation expected to rise to 4%, trading conditions in the medium term are going to remain very challenging.
“Commitments to additional spending on levelling-up are welcome. A portion of this will be allocated to upgrading the electric vehicle charging network, an urgent requirement which NI Chamber and our members have been highlighting.
“We welcome cuts to Air Passenger Duty, something NI Chamber has been calling for, for some time. It represents a step towards improving our connectivity with the rest of the UK. While a reduction in APD may provide some boost to Northern Ireland’s airports, it won’t take effect until 2023, so in the short-term, they still need more immediate support.
“In principle, we welcome additional funding for the region via the block grant and will await with interest, to see how businesses here will benefit from it. It is important that commitments to rates relief for hospitality and leisure businesses are extended to businesses in Northern Ireland.
“Businesses have suffered an enormously challenging 18 months and continue to deal with supply chain problems, labour shortages, price rises and soaring energy bills, so there are still difficult months ahead. If firms face unexpected bumps in the road, the Chancellor and the Executive must be prepared to take further action to enable the economy to fire on all cylinders again.”