As MLAs stir themselves to return for a special debate on the cuts, will the Executive try to fill that other black hole, the answer the to the question : “what do you propose?” It’s not good enough for the parties to unite only to blame the Brits. They have to start behaving as a government.
Peter now puts the shortfall at £5 billion rather than Sammy’s £4 billion when welfare cuts and increased pension contributions are taken into account. Liam Clarke’s critical summary similar to Slugger’s is a handy crib for the debate to follow.
Meanwhile David Cameron bids to switch attention to the positive in his CBI speech with his vision of private sector job creation to take up the public sector slack. This will be an even more difficult task in Northern Ireland. All the Treasury are saying is this – which is at least a wider reappraisal than tilting at the windmill of a special corporation tax regime for the province.
The Government will publish a consultation paper on re-balancing the Northern Ireland economy later this year.
Remember this ” rebalancing” is supposed to over 25 years, so no quick fix there. Over page the Treasury lists other measures which as far as I can see haven’t received much publicity. Every little helps.
A new three-year scheme will exempt new businesses from up to £5,000 of employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs). Any new business set up from 22 June which meets the criteria set out in the forthcoming announcement will benefit from the scheme. Over 15,000 businesses in Northern Ireland will benefit.
The impact of the employer NICs rate rise previously announced will be largely reversed. This will lead to a saving of around £80 million in Northern Ireland.
The Budget 2009 proposal to repeal the special tax rules for furnished holiday lettings will not be implemented. Instead, the Government will consult over the summer on an alternative proposal. This will benefit an estimated 800 individuals in Northern Ireland who have income from furnished holiday lettings.
The Income Tax personal allowance for those aged under 65 will be increased by £1000 in cash terms, taking it from £6475 in 2010-11 to £7475 in 2011-12. In Northern Ireland over 600,000 basic rate taxpayers will gain from this measure.
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London