Northern Ireland budget will stymie economic growth, say business bodies

by Business Growth


The Northern Ireland public sector budget laid out by the Secretary of State will cause significant challenges for the economy.

That is the view of business organisations across the province which called for an end to the current standoff at Stormont and a restoration of the Executive to make the most efficient use of the reduced funding.

The comments come after Chris Heaton-Harris announced a tightened budget of £14.2 billion in resource and £2.2 billion in capital for the 2023-2024 financial year, a total reduction of 0.4% which has left government departments struggling to cover costs. Of some succour is the fact Westminster has decided not to repay the £297 million overspend from last year but will absorb any extra funding for UK-wide initiatives which may be announced during the year.

The latter won’t provide much comfort, according the Ann McGregor, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“Even with that flexibility, this budget will pose significant difficulties for our economy both now and in the future,” she said, adding that a return of the Executive to Stormont is imperative.

“While we await details on how senior officials will implement the budget, it serves as a timely reminder that we need a functioning Executive up and running to agree priorities and take difficult decisions. Not only should the budget place a razor like focus on how the Executive raises and spends money, it should also accelerate the debate on how Stormont is funded from Westminster for the next decade and beyond.”

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts agreed.


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