Autumn Statement passes challenge to Executive to invest in the economy

Alliance Finance spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said the Executive needs to make investments across the board following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

Dr Farry was speaking after Philip Hammond announced the Executive will receive an extra £250 million in infrastructure funding. However, Dr Farry said the focus should also be on other economic drivers, including skills and research, alongside infrastructure.

“This Statement is a mixed bag of outcomes. Strangely, there was hardly any mention of Brexit, which is the biggest economic challenge facing the UK in a generation, and which potentially brings severe economic consequences for Northern Ireland.

“It is a relief the Chancellor is belatedly slowing the base of austerity and the rebalancing of the public finances. Many stakeholders, including Alliance, have been recognising the need to address the deficit, but at a slower pace. Nevertheless, there is still a difficult challenge ahead.

“Locally, there will be much focus on the additional resources now available to the Executive for infrastructure investment. This money now needs to be spent wisely and strategically, and perhaps the York Street interchange can now be advanced.

“But our Executive also takes note of the growing emphasis of addressing the UK’s overall productivity challenge, which is also even more acute here, and recognise investments needs to be made across all of the key drivers of the local economy, including both skills and research, alongside infrastructure.”

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