Responding to the Budget unveiled by the Chancellor in London, David Ford stated: “The rise in tax for small businesses and for low-paid workers providing essential public services will be cause for concern for families right across Northern Ireland.
“The rise in tax paid by small businesses, from 19p to 22p, means that we need a Commission urgently to examine rates paid by firms based here in Northern Ireland. In the past it was possible to argue legitimately that the rate paid was not so significantly more than that paid in the Republic to make a significant difference. But that gap is now widening when it should be narrowing. A Commission will have to look at a range of measures which would enable local firms to compete, which may include a reduction in overall corporation tax.
“The reduction in personal tax is welcome, but the removal of a 10p band will have an unfair effect on lower paid workers, particularly those providing essential public services who are already being hit by higher rates and water charges. This is bizarre behaviour from an apparently Labour Chancellor.
“Tax reductions are welcome, but tax and rates must be distributed to individuals, to households and to businesses fairly. This Budget contains too many moves in the wrong direction for Northern Ireland. Our politicians will now have to get on with the job of delivering a better option for our people.”