26/10/2021

New Budget 'Must Not Punish Those Already Struggling'

The upcoming new Budget must not punish those who are already struggling, the DUP's Sammy Wilson has said.

With petrol prices reaching record highs, rising oil and gas bills and increasing food prices, the East Antrim MLA has called on the government to "not take more money from people in tax".

Mr Wilson said: "With people already looking towards the winter with concern as to how they will meet their bills, this should not be worsened through tax rises.

"More locally the budget must deliver on the government's levelling up promises. Given Northern Ireland has suffered through the double whammy of Covid and the Protocol, we will be waiting to see how the Budget delivers on this levelling up agenda. Infrastructure and training are key areas where a real difference can be made.
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"The hospitality sector has also been amongst the sectors which has suffered the most as a result of the pandemic. Clearly any increase in costs for this sector will be particularly damaging. As an industry which needs assistance to recover, the Government should at a minimum maintain the 12.% VAT for hospitality and not increase any of the other duties which will impact on this sector.

"Air travel in Northern Ireland is particularly important for our connectivity with the rest of the UK. Airports have also been hit hard through restrictions and traffic is still not high enough in many cases for all staff to be back at work. Whilst we do not support a general extension of the furlough scheme, there should either be targeted furlough for this sector or other targeted support.

"This needs to be a budget which takes account of the pressures facing families and businesses across the United Kingdom. The government should not punish those who are already struggling. Reducing taxes can provide a stimulus to the economy and in doing so, increasing sales profits and incomes which in turn can increase the total tax take for the government."

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