After speaking in the House of Commons Mr Paisley said,
“By being part of the Union, Northern Ireland benefits from the United Kingdom’s economic strength whether that is the triple-lock on pensions, the NHS, welfare supports, energy support payments or as we witnessed in the pandemic via the Furlough Scheme. Whilst we will be critical of individual scheme details, we must recognise the broader massive benefits for Northern Ireland.
Overall this budget is challenging for households in Northern Ireland and made more difficult due to the poor planning by the former Finance Minister who failed to set a budget for Northern Ireland despite starting the process in October 2021. Departments face a £650m blackhole partially due to poor budget management by the SF Finance Minister as well as the Treasury envelope.
We welcome the retention of the pensions Triple Lock and the commitments to develop our tech sector in Northern Ireland as well as reduce regulation in other sectors but unless we have the Protocol replaced, in many cases Northern Ireland will not be able to benefit from these measures.
I recognise that the Government has listened and revised their initial £100 payment for oil users by increasing it to £200 and making it available to all households. This is imperfect but at least there is movement. We now need a clear timetable for this roll-out and the £400 electricity payment.
Hundreds of my constituents work hard but it is not paying them. I am disappointed that serious action on childcare has been overlooked. I have teachers and nurses in North Antrim, who when they pay their childcare bill have almost nothing left. We will continue to press the Chancellor to recognise that the Tax-Free Childcare allowance for working parents needs increased.
We will continue to use our seats in Westminster to press for greater support for public services in Northern Ireland and note the planned budget reduction in 24/25 for major infrastructure investment.”