Long: “Nothing new in Budget”

Alliance MP Naomi Long has said today’s Budget “offers very little” that is new, adding that once again financial issues facing people in Northern Ireland were largely ignored.

Although East Belfast MP Mrs Long offered a welcome for the scrapping of fuel duty, she said nothing Chancellor George Osborne did suggested the Government had a plan to deal with what has been widely acknowledged as worsening circumstances for the national economy.

Mrs Long said she would be studying the Budget in more depth over the next period but at first glance, there were no surprises contained in it.

“A detailed assessment is needed to fully assess the effect the Budget will have but listening to the Chancellor in the House of Commons today, it certainly appeared that it had very little that was novel.

“The Budget was announced on the same day it was revealed that unemployment in Northern Ireland is at its highest level for 15 years. Nothing in the Budget suggests the Government has any ideas about helping reduce that number and returning people to work.”

However, Mrs Long said she was pleased by the Chancellor’s cancelling of a proposed hike on fuel duty, stating local motorists would benefit more than most from it.

“As someone who has repeatedly campaigned for this, I welcome this move, as it will help both businesses and families in these challenging economic times.

“It is well known that motorists in Northern Ireland pay substantially more for fuel than the average in the rest of the UK, so local drivers will be helped by it. In addition to the short-term benefits, it also helps secure the future of small businesses and will have a positive impact on the general public, due to our transport system being mainly roads-based.”

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