Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Monday, 14 January 2013

2012 Autumn Statement

The finance minister said it was "critically important" that Northern Ireland echoed the rest of the UK when it came to welfare reform, on 14 January 2013.

Sammy Wilson was making a statement on how Westminster's 2012 Autumn Statement impacted on Northern Ireland.

Chancellor George Osborne delivered his statement on 5 December 2012.

The statement was one of two major statements the Treasury has to give to Parliament every year, and it has grown in importance during the recent difficult economic times.

Mr Wilson advised that Northern Ireland needed to implement changes in policy relating to welfare reform "in a manner that maintains full parity with the UK position".

"Failure to do so would likely result in unnecessary cuts to our block grant and this would undoubtedly have a major negative impact on local people through reduced levels of key public services," he said.

New legislation bringing major changes to disability living allowance, housing benefit and employment support, has already been passed in England and Wales.

The minister welcomed a number of key points that arose from the Chancellor's statement.

He said Northern Ireland had received a major concession in its exemption from the Carbon Price Floor, a tax on energy producers in the UK.

Mr Wilson said the tax would have been "disastrous for our local energy market" as Northern Ireland energy generators would have been unfairly priced out of competing in an all-island market.

The minister also welcomed the fall in the main rate of corporation tax from 22% to 21% from April 2014, and the cancellation of a planned 3p rise in fuel duty.

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