27 October 2021
Angela McGowan, CBI Northern Ireland Director, said:
“The Chancellor has shown a genuine willingness to listen to business with measures that will get firms innovating and help the economy to grow. It takes several positive steps forward – through Levelling Up Fund investment to matching the Shared Prosperity Fund – but leaves more to be done to deliver the high investment, high productivity economy we need.
“Increased Barnett funding for skills will help improve Northern Ireland’s long-term competitiveness, productivity and raise local living standards. To ensure the local economy directly benefits, a “Ring-fenced Skills Fund” needs to be urgently signed off by the Executive to ensure that money meets its intended objective.
“The Government’s commitment to innovation will be central to efforts to build and sustain the industries of the future. This will be essential to be globally competitive so the Government must stick to these targets in the coming years. With that in mind, alongside an uplift for the Northern Ireland block grant overall, it was pleasing to see recognition for the green jobs that will be so important to our future growth.
“But this Budget alone won’t seize the moment and transform the NI economy for a post-Brexit post-Covid world. Businesses remain in a high tax, low productivity economy with concerns about inflation.
“Both the UK Government and NI Executive have crucial roles to play in our economic recovery. The CBI wants to see a relentless focus on policy that will move us towards a long-term economic vision - such as the one set out by the CBI and also the local Department for Economy’s 10X Economic Strategy. By focusing on what we want to achieve in the decades ahead, both government and industry will be able to take the transformative steps needed to achieve economic success”.