He said: “I was pleased to see those elements of today’s Budget which are aimed at making a positive impact on Northern Ireland’s economy. Northern Ireland will be able to access UK-wide programmes including the £5billion Project Gigabit, the £2.6billion UK Shared Prosperity Fund and the £1.4billion Global Britain Investment Fund, all of which will help stimulate economic recovery and future prosperity.
“I will, however, be keen to see the full detail of all of these measures, how they can dovetail with our local economic priorities and delivery on the ground, and to assess precisely how we can best take advantage of them for the local economy.”
Turning to Air Passenger Duty (APD), the Minister said: “Air connectivity between Northern Ireland and Great Britain is vital to our economic recovery and future prosperity.
“I have repeatedly made it clear that APD is an unfair tax that needs to be addressed at national level, given its particularly detrimental impact on NI passengers. I have robustly lobbied HM Treasury to have it removed, and I have also raised my concerns with Sir Peter Hendy, who leads the UK Government’s Union Connectivity Review.
“Therefore, while I welcome the Chancellor’s announcement today that he intends to reduce APD on UK routes from April 2023, as progress, it is extremely disappointing that the opportunity to remove APD altogether was not taken. I will continue to vigorously press home this message.”