Autumn Statement does little for Northern Ireland, says Farry

The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement does little for Northern Ireland, Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry MP has said.

Stephen Farry Budget

He was speaking after Jeremy Hunt revealed the UK Government’s financial plans for the forthcoming months. North Down MP Dr Farry said it was particularly disappointing given the context.

“The Autumn Statement does little specifically for Northern Ireland,” he said.

“We are in an unprecedented financial crisis and in a different context with a functioning Executive, we could have heard announcements for a fiscal floor and an invest to save financial package. But without an Executive, businesses here and the local economy are left without direction.

“The UK is continuing to suffer a huge cost of living crisis, around energy bills and other essentials. There is little new in this Statement to help the most vulnerable households. The measures on benefits uprating and the pension triple lock are only confirmation of existing policies. The new benefit sanctions measures are punitive. We need positive incentives to get people into work.

“Today’s Statement also does little to help those just above the access to benefits limits. The Chancellor had the opportunity to give help to the working poor with an effective and realistic view of the local housing allocation and help them afford to rent their homes, but those protections were not given.

“The cuts to business and personal taxes are welcome. However, there was scant attention to climate change. Once again the opportunity to launch a Green New Deal has been passed up."