IoD NI response to Chancellor's Budget
23 March 2012
Institute of Directors Northern Ireland Division Response to the Chancellor’s Budget 21 March 2012
In response to today’s budget announcement, Mervyn McCall, Chairman of the Institute of Directors, Northern Ireland Division, said:
“We welcome the Chancellor’s commitment to back business which is reflective of the Northern Ireland Executive’s focus on the economy. However, many of the proposals were light in detail and we await various Government announcements in the coming weeks.
“The IoD has for sometime championed exporting and its ability to spearhead our recovery, with the UK growth forecast revised upwards only slightly and the EU zone revised downward, NI businesses need to increase efforts to export outside Europe. We welcome the Chancellor’s announcement that he is expanding UK export finance assistance.
“An extension of existing film tax credits and to the digital content industry is good news for Northern Ireland where there is a growing and successful sector. IoD members are mentoring small firms in this sector helping realise the benefit of our strong talent pool.
“While Northern Ireland has, for some-time, led the rest of the UK in broadband coverage the inclusion of Belfast for funding in ultra fast broadband and large scale Wi-Fi access is excellent news for our blossoming digital economy and also increases our attractiveness for FDI.
“We look forward to Northern Ireland becoming an Enterprise Zone and the opportunities that this will present for job creation, research and development and an assisting in an export led culture. Again we await further detail on this potentially important development for our economy.
“Simplification of the taxation bureaucracy for small firms is welcome along with the news that national insurance contributions and income tax are to be amalgamated. Red tape remains a bug bear for business leaders in Northern Ireland.
Regional Public Sector Pay
“The Chancellor’s announcement to consider the regional differences in public sector pay will be warmly received by many business leaders.
“The private sector for too long has had to compete with higher salaries and better conditions offered with many public sector jobs. An effort to level the playing field would assist a re-balancing of the economy.
“The proposed cut in corporation tax to 24% in is largely irrelevant for Northern Ireland companies that compete directly with the Republic of Ireland on a rate of almost half.
“We will continue to lobby for a cut in corporation tax rate of 12.5% across Northern Ireland which is critical to inward investment, creating employment and ensuring the region is a prosperous and outward looking economy.
National Loan Scheme
“While we welcome the introduction of the National Loan Scheme in making it easier for smaller businesses to borrow and invest, it is not a silver bullet. Those firms who are able to get loans will benefit from lower interest payments, but little will change for many who are having problems getting bank finance in the first place.”