Sammy Wilson: Budget mustn't punish those who are already struggling

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has said that Wednesday's budget mustn't punish those who are already struggling.

By Sammy Wilson MP

East Antrim

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The DUP MP said, "In the last few days we have seen petrol reaching record high prices, oil and gas bills are going up and food prices have increased. When people are facing such all those kind of increased costs, the one thing the government should not do is to take more money from people in tax. With people already looking towards the winter with concern as to how they will meet their bills, this should not be worsened through tax rises.

More locally the budget must deliver on the government's levelling up promises. Given Northern Ireland has suffered through the double whammy of Covid and the Protocol, we will be waiting to see how the Budget delivers on this levelling up agenda. Infrastructure and training are key areas where a real difference can be made.

The hospitality sector has also been amongst the sectors which has suffered the most as a result of the pandemic. Clearly any increase in costs for this sector will be particularly damaging. As an industry which needs assistance to recover, the Government should at a minimum maintain the 12.% VAT for hospitality and not increase any of the other duties which will impact on this sector.

Air travel in Northern Ireland is particularly important for our connectivity with the rest of the UK. Airports have also been hit hard through restrictions and traffic is still not high enough in many cases for all staff to be back at work. Whilst we do not support a general extension of the furlough scheme, there should either be targeted furlough for this sector or other targeted support.

This needs to be a budget which takes account of the pressures facing families and businesses across the United Kingdom. The government should not punish those who are already struggling. Reducing taxes can provide a stimulus to the economy and in doing so, increasing sales profits and incomes which in turn can increase the total tax take for the government."

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