SDLP’s Dominic Bradley critical of Chancellor’s budget

Declan McAteer Posted by
declan@newrytimes.com
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012
Budget 2012, News, Politics

The SDLP’s Dominic Bradley has slammed Chancellor George Osborne’s budget this week. The Newry and Armagh MLA has said that those with lower incomes will find life more difficult as a result of the budget.

Speaking yesterday, he said, “Today’s budget contains certain welcome measures, but these are as nothing compared to the shameful decision to reduce the top rate of tax to 45%. While we should not be surprised that a cabinet with such an overwhelming number of millionaires among its members would decide to benefit themselves with this budget, we should equally be outraged that they would do so while making life more difficult for those at the opposite end of the income spectrum.

“Increasing fuel duty while people are still choosing between heating and eating and, at the same time, loosening the belts of those for whom household bills hold no fears is grossly unfair and will only lead to deepening inequality in the months and years to come. There is little or nothing in the budget which will help those who are worse off in society especially those who are dependent on benefits and little to mitigate the effects of planned welfare cuts – cuts of up to £10bn – whilst higher earners have largely been untouched.

Mr Bradley continued by saying proposed changes to regional pay agreements will have a detrimental effect on the Northern Ireland economy, “The proposals to regional pay agreements are still in there and that is something which is very unwelcome and which will have a detrimental effect on our economy here. We welcome the rise in the personal income tax allowance to £9,205 but we believe this should have been higher, at least £10,000, particularly when set against the reduction of the top tax rate.

“The reduction in corporation tax to 24% from next month and to 22% by 2014 whilst welcome does not go far enough – we need to see how this is to be applied to our situation here. The Chancellor has only talked about it in the context of whole of UK and neglected to mention the work of the ministerial working group on lowering corporation tax in NI and I hope that this does not indicate that he is rethinking this or that the Sinn Fein/DUP group at Stormont has failed to progress this issue.

The SDLP man concluded by suggesting charities will also be hit, “We are also extremely concerned at the impact which the new tax relief could have on charities, as it is likely to discourage big donors, at a time when more people need help from charities. As with all budgets the devil is often in the detail and we will ensure that we interrogate this over the coming weeks.”

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