DUP Treasury Spokesperson Sammy Wilson MP has said the Chancellor's Budget is a missed opportunity to assist the economy in the immediate future as we seek to move forward from the Covid pandemic.
DUP MPs supported a Labour Party's amendment before abstaining on the vote on the Bill.
Speaking afterward the East Antrim MP said, "The Chancellor had a very difficult task in bringing forward the Budget and subsequent Finance Bill. There are competing pressures in the necessary steps to deal with the impact of Covid restrictions and rebuilding the economy whilst not sending out a signal that we are careless about the debt incurred.
We cannot ignore the significant economic assistance to both businesses and employees throughout the pandemic. We in Northern Ireland recognise that we only benefit from this support because of our place within the United Kingdom. It is a direct benefit of the Union.
The Northern Ireland economy is significantly hindered by the impact of the Northern Ireland Protocol. It is welcome that the Finance Bill resolves the 25% tariffs on steel imports which were imposed by that Protocol. Whilst others were downplaying its problems, DUP representatives were working with the Government to find a solution. There is a need for much more to be done however.
There are positive steps taken for the long-term economic challenges, but opportunities have been missed in relation to the short-term issues we face as the nation attempts to reopen the economy. The income tax burden is set to increase alongside Business Rates and Corporation Tax.
There are also significant increases in Air Passenger Duty imposed upon an aviation industry which has already been severely impacted and is likely to feel the benefits of recovery last. Given the huge pressures facing our hospitality industry, there is a need to also extend the 5% VAT rate further.
In the Government's desire to reduce the debt and ensure the long-term future they may have made the wrong decisions which will stymie our recovery in the shorter-term."
The Labour amendment was as follows:
"That this House declines to give a Second Reading to the Finance (No. 2) Bill because it derives from a Budget that failed to guarantee a pay rise for NHS workers after their unparalleled service over the last year; because it undermines the country’s economic recovery, targeting household finances by freezing income tax allowances before increasing the rate of corporation tax; because it does nothing to mitigate the effect on family finances of the sharp council tax rise in April; because it contains measures connected with a cut to social security later in the year; and because it fails to set out the ambitious plan for jobs and growth that is needed to help the country emerge strongly from the worst economic crisis of any major economy."