Lord Empey: Budget made me think of wasted opportunities for NI

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

Observing the budget being delivered in Parliament yesterday, I could not help but think of all the wasted opportunities for Northern Ireland.

Mention was made of a possible city deal for Belfast and possibly other cities.

This I welcome, but city deals have been around for some time now and we are nowhere near a start, lagging behind other cities in Great Britain.

We have seen little or nothing done with regard to enterprise zones, despite obvious need. While a deal was done on corporation tax years ago, nothing has happened except further delays.

Meanwhile, public sector workers and services continue to be left to their own devices as the political process has failed them terribly.

There is a welcome boost with Barnett consequentials helping our overall budget, but sadly no executive is in place to determine where they will be spent.

I also welcome the reduction in stamp duty for first time buyers, but look what would have happened if this had been devolved alongside income tax powers as occurred in Scotland?

We would have lost all the gains that could help young people get on the housing ladder.

The contrast yesterday between the discussion on real economic issues that affect families and the asinine comments of Gerry Adams complaining about the IRA being properly described as terrorists, illustrate how far Sinn Fein is away from reality in Northern Ireland.

Lord Empey, House of Lords