Wilson – “missed opportunity to show work pays”

DUP Treasury spokesman Sammy Wilson MP said the Autumn statement was a missed opportunity to reward working families.

By Sammy Wilson Candidate

East Antrim

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Mr Wilson said,

“This is an Autumn Statement of missed opportunities to demonstrate that work pays. The cut in National Insurance is a step in the right direction but well short of the tax game-changer that working families need and deserve. With other income thresholds frozen, working families are still subject to amongst the highest levels of taxation in living history and more people than ever will be paying the higher level of income tax.

Whilst a police officer, nurse or teacher earning £35,000 per year may be £450 better off, there was no action to reduce the £1300 per month childcare bill they have due to their decision to work.

We had argued strongly that the Government should increase the Tax-Free Childcare Allowance beyond the current 20% and increase the High Income Child Benefit Charge threshold to account for inflation and end the disparity of it being based on one income rather than household income.

None of these steps were taken. We will continue to campaign for Treasury to do more to help working parents with childcare costs. It is simply not sustainable to expect workers to slog long hours on their feet and have their pay swallowed up almost entirely by tax and a hefty childcare bill. Too many are leaving the workforce.

We welcome the protection of the Triple Lock for pensioners and the steps taken to encourage the unemployed back into work as well as the steps taken to encourage businesses to reinvest and grow the economy.

The budget imposed by the Secretary of State means that Northern Ireland will not get the full Barnett Consequential of £185m but rather additional money from the Autumn Statement will be used to pay down the £297m overspend from last year. Indeed when considered against the half a billion overspend projected for this year, it is deeply worrying as to when Northern Ireland will ever receive a full Barnett Consequential again.

This vicious circle of overspending can only be broken through a fundamental reform of how public services in Northern Ireland are funded. Currently they are funded below the Government’s own definition of objective need and the situation is set to worsen in future years. This must be changed. There is a solution on the shelf which was used in Wales, it must now be used for Northern Ireland.”

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