CBI NI Spring Budget response

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in Northern Ireland has cautiously welcomed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s UK budget but calls for a “laser-like” focus on the province’s competitive position going forward.

Angela McGowan, NI CBI Director

Angela McGowan, CBI Northern Ireland Director said, “This Budget succeeds strongly in protecting the economy now and kickstarting recovery. It leaves open the question of UK competitiveness long term.

“The Chancellor has gone above and beyond to protect UK businesses and people’s livelihoods through the crisis and get firms spending. Thousands of firms will be relieved to receive support to finish the job and get through the coming months. The Budget also has a clear eye to the future; to ensure finances are sustainable, while building confidence and investment in a lasting recovery.

“The Chancellor has taken a welcome, broad view on how to stimulate growth from the new Infrastructure Bank to Help to Grow. The super deduction should be a real catalyst for firms to greenlight investment decisions. The boldness of the Chancellor on this measure is to be admired.

“But moving Corporation Tax to 25% in one leap will cause a sharp intake of breath for many businesses and sends a worrying signal to those planning to invest across the UK. This is a particularly acute concern for Northern Ireland’s post Brexit competitiveness on the island of Ireland.

“The Government and the Executive must now have a laser-like focus on Northern Ireland’s competitive position in the round, including fundamental reform of Business Rates, investment in skills and a relook at how Northern Ireland competes with the Republic’s Corporation Tax rate of 12.5%. Northern Ireland must remain attractive for every type of business, from the innovation, high-growth homegrown firm to the global firms investing locally.”