Newry Times Budget 2012 special

Newry Times News Posted by
info@newrytimes.com
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012
Budget 2012, News, Politics

There has been a mixed reaction to the 2012 Budget in the local community, with many people stating that they will reserve judgement on it until they see how it is implemented. At first glance, low income families appear to be no better off, which Finance Minister Sammy Wilson expressed anger about. Wilson also expressed concern over the announcement on greater regionalisation of public sector pay. He pointed out that public sector pay in Northern Ireland is already 3.5 % below the UK average.

Wilson said, “The size of the public sector in Northern Ireland is similar to many other UK regions. The problem we face is that our private sector is too small. Therefore seeking to suppress the public sector pay here – something that is a key stimulus in local economic activity – will only impose greater differences in economic growth rates across the UK. I am also outraged that the chancellor has not done more to provide assistance to those on low incomes and bring families out of poverty including a reduction in fuel duty.”

The British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Owen Patterson, disagreed however, and instead insisted that the measures provided ‘significant help’ to hard working families.

Patterson said, “The increase in income tax personal allowances by a further £1,100 in April 2013 – the largest in 30 years – will benefit 605,000 people in Northern Ireland, and lift 25,000 out of income tax. In addition, raising the individual threshold for the withdrawal of child benefit to £50,000 will benefit 16,000 households in Northern Ireland. This is also a budget for jobs and business growth, which are key objectives shared by both the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Executive.”

Key points of the 2012 Budget:

* The 50p top rate of income tax will be cut to 45p from 2013.
* Construction industry: Delay in the planned increase in the aggregates levy rate.
* Tax free personal allowance will be raised to £9,205.
* An estimated 25,000 people in NI out of income tax, and around 605,000 people in NI £220 a year better off.
* Child benefit will gradually be removed for those earning more than £50,000.
* 37p on packet of cigarettes.
* Price of pint to rise by more than 5p.
* 3p per litre rise in fuel from 1st August.
* Public spending: £14.3m boost to NI block grant.
* Rise in personal tax allowances
* Air Passenger Duty: MLAs to set APD rates for direct long haul flights departing from NI.
* Corporation tax: Will fall to 22% by 2014 plus reliefs for the high-end television industry.
* Internet: Up to £13.7m of investment in Belfast to deliver ultra-fast broadband. High-speed wireless connectivity to up to 63,000 residents in key areas.

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