Stormont will receive £ 1.6 billion more annually as part of the UK’s budget plans

RISHI SUNAK HAS announced that the Stormont Executive will receive an additional £ 1.6 billion annually as part of the UK budget.

The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer has also promised that flights between airports in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales will be subject to a new reduced Air Passenger Duty fare from April 2023.

The Conservative Party MP also promised devolved administrations will receive the “largest block grant” since 1998, with Scottish Government funding increasing annually by an average of £ 4.6 billion, £ 2.5 billion for the Welsh government and £ 1.6 billion for the Stormont Executive.

The chancellor opened his budget by promising “the strongest economy of the future”.

It said the UK Office of Fiscal Responsibility (OBR) had forecast a faster rebound, with an expected growth of 6.5% this year instead of the 4% previously forecast.

But he acknowledged rising inflation, blaming it for the global reopening of economies following the pandemic, and promised further action to address strained supply chains.

The chancellor said: “Employment is on the rise. Investment is growing. Public services are improving. Public finances are stabilizing. And wages are rising.”

“Today’s budget offers a stronger economy for the British people – stronger growth, with the UK recovering faster than our main competitors.

“Stronger public finances, with our debt under control. Stronger employment, with fewer unemployed and more employed. Growth on the rise, jobs on the rise and debt declining. There is no doubt: our plan is working “.

But he said inflation in September was 3.1% “and is likely to increase further” – the OBR expects CPI to average 4% over the next year.

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Scarring effect

Sunak promised “help to families who work with the cost of living”.

The UK budget supervisor said the economy is expected to return to its pre-Covid level at the beginning of the year and has debunked its hypothesis on the long-term scarring effect of Covid-19 on the economy. from 3% to 2%.

It now predicts lower UK growth in 2022 than previously expected, down from 7.3% to 6%, partly due to better performance in 2021, while in 2023 it is expected to be 2.1%. in 2024 by 1.3% and 1.6% in 2025..

Public debt will also be lower than previous forecasts, going from 7.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) – a measure of the size of the economy – to 3.3% next year, then 2.4%, 1, 7%, 1.7% and 1.5% in subsequent years.

Better-than-expected public finances allowed Sunak to make a number of important public spending promises.

“Today’s budget increases total departmental spending on this parliament by £ 150 billion,” he said. “This is the biggest increase of this century, with spending growing 3.8% per year in real terms.”

It would mean a real increase in spending in every single government department, he told lawmakers.

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Corporate rate cuts

The Chancellor announced £ 7bn in corporate rate cuts, with the cancellation of hikes planned for next year and a 50% discount on corporate rates for one year for a range of outlets and accommodations.

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A broader reform of corporate tariffs will make the system “fairer and more timely” with more frequent revaluations every three years.

Other corporate tax reforms included reducing the levy on banks’ profits and extending a corporate tax reduction on investments.

Sunak has also promised a new and lower rate of air passenger rights on domestic flights within the UK.

The chancellor also announced a series of alcohol tax reforms starting February 2023, including a 5% reduction in duties on draft products to help support pubs.

“This is the largest cider duty cut since 1923. The largest fruit cider cut in a generation. The biggest beer tax cut in 50 years, ”he said. “It’s a long-term investment in British pubs of £ 100 million a year. And a permanent cut in the cost of a pint by 3p. “

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