Northern Ireland

Autumn Statement: NI Executive to get extra £250m

Philip Hammond Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Philip Hammond said the extra money for Northern Ireland has come out of the Barnett Formula

The Northern Ireland Executive is to receive an extra £250m in infrastructure funding, the chancellor has announced.

Philip Hammond made the announcement as part of the Autumn Statement.

The money will be spread over four years and has come from the Barnett Formula, which is used to work out how much devolved governments receive.

Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir tweeted that a joint call for economic stimulus had "struck chord".

Image copyright Twitter

He added that the extra funding was "welcome" but that a "lower growth forecast, continuing austerity and cuts to resource budgets mean turbulence (is) still ahead".

It is expected that details on how the money will be spent will be announced by Mr Ó Muilleoir when he presents his budget in December.

The chancellor said the extra money was "very significant" and that the Autumn Statement was one "which delivers for Northern Ireland".

Analysis: Julian O'Neill, BBC News NI business correspondent

The additional £250m is perhaps a little more than Stormont had anticipated.

But it is spread over four years.

Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir - along with his counterparts in Wales and Scotland - had been pushing for much more.

The cash is for capital projects - so not day-to-day departmental resource spending.

Things like roads, as improving infrastructure was a key element of the Autumn Statement.

Expect calls for the money to be used on the York Street Interchange.

But it could be we have to wait until 19 December, the Northern Ireland Executive's budget day, for a clearer indication of how Stormont will spend it.

Secretary of State James Brokenshire said the money will allow the executive to invest in "key infrastructure projects to support future growth".

He also said the government is committed to devolving corporation tax as long as the executive "demonstrates that its finances are on a sustainable footing".

DUP MP Sammy Wilson said the money will be "welcome by everyone".

"Whilst the executive will have to decide exactly what this funding will be directed towards, there has been a particular focus on the York Street Interchange recently."

Philip Smith, the UUP's finance spokesperson, said the Autumn Statement's focus on "increasing productivity and reducing levels of public debt" were "two points which the local executive seem blissfully ignorant of".

"Northern Ireland's productivity is amongst the lowest in the developed world and we have by far the largest level of indebtedness of any region in the UK," he said.

He said the money would also increase the need for the executive to produce a "strategic investment programme".

SDLP MP Mark Durkan said the Autumn Statement "represents a slowdown of excessive austerity, not a reverse".

"The Barnett consequential of £250m for the next budget period is welcome, but will easily be absorbed by the standing pressure and obvious underinvestment in our devolved budget," he added.

Overall, the Autumn Statement shows that the UK economy is forecast to be £122bn worse off than previously thought.

Image caption Philip Hammond said the Autumn Statement "delivers for Northern Ireland"

Mr Hammond also confirmed that the National Living Wage (NLW) will rise by 30p to £7.50 in April.

About 13,000 Northern Ireland workers are thought to have benefited when the NLW was first introduced this year at £7.20 an hour.

Fuel duty has been frozen for the seventh consecutive year in succession.

Another measure that was heavily trailed ahead of the Autumn Statement was a £1.3bn package for road improvements - targeted mostly at repairs and reducing bottlenecks.

Northern Ireland's spilt of that funding could be about £40m.

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