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Budget is ‘slap in the face’ of the worst off

Newry and Armagh MLA Dominic Bradley has said that the latest budget is a “slap in the face” to the worst off in society. Announced on Wednesday the budget will see an increase in personal tax allowance, the amount of income that is tax free to rise to £9,205 In April next year while corporation tax will fall to 24 per cent next month and to 22 per cent by 2014. Other moves include an increase in cigarette duty of 37p on a packet of 20 with immediate effect an increase of 3p on fuel in August and the controversial decision to reduce the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p from next April. Mr Bradley who is the SDLP’s finance spokesperson said: “The budget contains certain welcome measures but these are nothing compared to the shameful decision to reduce the top rate of tax to 45 per cent. While we should not be surprised that a cabinet with such as overwhelming number of millionaires among it members would decide to benefit themselves with this budget we should be equally outraged that they should do so while making life difficult for those at the opposite end of the income spectrum.” Speaking about the increase in fuel duty the MLA said: “Increasing fuel duty while people are increasingly choosing between heating and eating and at the same time loosening the belts of those for whom household bills hold no fears is grossly unfair and will only lead to deepening inequality in the months and years to come.” Sinn Fein’s finance spokes person MLA Conor Murphy said: ” While the reduction from 50 per cent to 45 per cent in the highest tax rate will benefit those ion the top wage bracket to the tune of thousands of pounds the minimal increases in personal allowances will have little measurable benefit to those at the very bottom of the scale – about £4 per week. What little benefit this measure will deliver will be more than wiped out by increases in fuel duty which will be inevitably passed on to consumers through higher good prices.” Aidan Malone treasurer of Newry Chamber of Commerce said: “We welcome the increase in the personal allowance that will benefit those in the local area on lower incomes and benefit them by about £220 a year. There are a number of measures beneficial to businesses including the reduction in the higher rate of corporation tax, which is a positive move to make it more possible to reduce corporation tax in Northern Ireland. However those on the losing end are those people becoming 65 from April 2013 who will not get the higher rate allowance, smokers who will face a 37p rise and businesses and motorists as the decision to go ahead with the rise in fuel duty will once again increase fuel prices.”


Newry Democrat

27th March 2012