Spring Budget 2024: Key announcements

7 Mar 2024 Shauna O'Neill    Last updated: 7 Mar 2024

Jeremy Hunt leaves Downing Street with the despatch box to present his spring budget to parliament
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The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt MP delivered his Spring Budget on Wednesday, 6 March . It focused on the economy ‘turning a corner’ and delivering tax cuts for working people.

The majority of policies were structured with the aims of:

  1. Creating a fairer tax system
  2. Supporting people with the cost of living
  3. Reforming delivery of public services

Announcements made include:

  • Reducing National Insurance from 8% to 6% from 6 April 2024.
  • Abolishing ‘Non-Dom’ tax status and replacing the system with new rules from April 2025.
  • Extending the Household Support Fund to provide £500 million to families.
  • Raising the child benefit charge threshold from £50,000 to £60,000.
  • Extending a 5p cut in fuel duty rates for 12 months.
  • Investing an extra £2.5 billion of funding for the NHS in England.

As is normally the case with spending announcements in the Budget, devolved regions receive additional money through a Barnett Consequential. In today’s Budget, the NI Executive has received an additional £100 million for public services.

Other NI-specific measures:

  • One-off regeneration funds of £20 million each for Londonderry and Coleraine as part of the UK Government’s Towns Fund.
  • £2 million allocation to be spent on “global investment and trade opportunities for Northern Ireland.”

NI POLITICAL REACTION

  • Northern Ireland Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris MP said that the budget “underlines the UK Government’s commitment to Northern Ireland and to the Union.” He welcomed the £100 million additional Barnett funding for 2024-25, on top of the £3.3 billion spending settlement, as a boost for the Executive's spending power.
  • Finance Minister and Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald described the budget as a “real opportunity missed for investment in public services.” She said the cut to National Insurance will provide “some relief for workers” but that the additional £99 million the Executive will receive will not “make a dent in the many financial challenges we face.”
  • DUP Treasury Spokesperson Sammy Wilson MP expressed disappointment in the budget's failure to adequately reward working people, whom he sees as crucial to Northern Ireland and the UK. He said “there is no game-changer in this Budget to show that work pays. Families once again will be seeing more of their income taxed than previous generations yet very little action to tackle the global tax avoiding online corporates.” 
  • Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry MP criticised the Budget, saying it is “short-sighted and irresponsible,” as it does not address the economic and social challenges facing the UK, while doing little to help Northern Ireland specifically. He added “this should have been a Budget which addressed the cost of living crisis, boosted declining public services, driven upskilling and delivered a Green New Deal” 
  • UUP Finance Spokesperson Steve Aiken MLA described the budget as one that “few will be happy with.” He said the cut to National Insurance and Barnett consequentials are positive, but that “the real term squeeze on public services will dampen down the stuttering attempts to boost the economy.”
  • SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP said, “a 2p cut in national insurance will be cold comfort to people facing higher prices, higher household bills and a desperate squeeze on public services.” Colum Eastwood MP also noted the tangible consequences of budget decisions, such as longer hospital waiting lists, stretched housing waiting lists, declining public sector pay, and underfunding of priority capital projects.

Please find a summary of the economic overview and the main announcements attached, listed by policy area. The full text of the statement from the HM Treasury can be found here and the Chancellor’s Speech can be found here.

shauna.oneill@nicva.org's picture
by Shauna O'Neill

Communications Officer

[email protected]

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