28/11/2001

Executive welcomes Chancellor Brown’s pre-budget report

Northern Ireland First Minister David Trimble and Deputy First Minister Mark Durkan have welcomed Chancellor Gordon Brown’s Pre-Budget Report as good news for Northern Ireland.

In his statement the Chancellor announced new spending allocations for next year that will provide additional resources of approximately £28 million for Northern Ireland.

Welcoming this news, Mr Trimble and Mr Durkan, who is also the Minister of Finance and Personnel, said: “The new resources will help the Executive to improve public services here beyond the details agreed by the Executive. The detailed implications will be announced when the Executive has decided how best to use this additional amount.”

The Ministers also greeted warmly the further commitments to provide help for pensioners. These will come through an increase of £3 per week for single pensioners and £4.80 for couples in April 2002 with further increases of 2.5 per cent or the level of the retail prices index whichever is the greater in future years, and via the introduction of new tax credits in 2003. They said: “Pensioners are among the most needy section of our community and we welcome this additional assistance.”

Mr Trimble and Mr Durkan went on to support the range of new measures designed to assist industry and the environment. They said: “We are pleased that the Chancellor has gone some way to recognise our concerns about the implementation of the Aggregates Levy in Northern Ireland and is now proposing a phased introduction for the use of aggregates in manufactured products.

“We also welcome the extension of the Research and Development tax credit proposed by the Chancellor and other measures to support business and disadvantaged areas. These were among the issues that the Executive pressed with the Treasury earlier this year.” (AMcE)

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