03/12/2004

Pre-Budget Report good for NI, claims Minister

NIO Finance Minister, Ian Pearson, has described Chancellor Gordon Brown’s Pre-Budget Report as “good news for Northern Ireland”.

Speaking on Friday, Mr Pearson said the report included “something for everyone” including those who are the most vulnerable in society.

“The economic measures announced today will support Northern Ireland in maintaining stability and growth,” the Minister said.

"Northern Ireland has and will continue to benefit from the UK’s longest unbroken economic expansion in 50 years and the measures announced today, will strengthen the platform to allow businesses in Northern Ireland to continue to prosper and grow.”

The Minister said the Chancellor’s proposals included a series of measures that “promote productivity growth, flexibility and fairness”, alongside high and stable levels of employment in Northern Ireland. He said the measures would also help the Northern Ireland economy to achieve a faster rate of productivity growth.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Chancellor Gordon Brown assured MPs of Britain's sustained economic growth. He confirmed that this year's economic growth target of 2.5% had been achieved and referred to it as the "longest period of sustained growth in Britain's industrial history".

Borrowing was predicted to reach £34bn in 2004/2005 and £33bn in 2005/06, compared with figures of £33bn and £31bn forecast respectively in March's budget. Inflation is also projected to rise to 1.75% next year and 2% in the years to follow.

(MB/SP)

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