A Northern Ireland Investment Fund is to be established as part of the Draft Budget which aims to provide millions to businesses involved in infrastructure projects. Finance Minister Simon Hamilton reckons this could amount to £1billion – the equivalent of employing an extra 46,000 nurses!
The Executive decided to extend the decapitalisation of rates for non-domestic properties which covers industry, agriculture and retail. This accounts approximately for £1.65billion in unpaid rates by businesses every year – the equivalent of an additional 82,000 classroom assistants. The Draft Budget agreed by the DUP and Sinn Féin also includes an allocation of £30million to be set aside to assist towards the “reform” of public services. In other words £30million is to be spent on preparing services to be gifted to the private sector. Is it any wonder the Confederation of British Industry has given the Draft Budget such a warm endorsement?