16th February

Budget Day

My first Budget and I knew I would be in for a long day. We were of course pre briefed and I had feedback from my Department delegations aspects of the Budget that affect for instance the Construction Sector, Retail, Mines and Minerals etc in the event the Budget is fairly steady as you go nothing radical, this is after all an election year.

Some tweaks to income tax but no one is really worse off. Corporation tax and zero tax regimes stay the same, some easing with regard to release of pension funds and from the Constructions Sector point of view a Development Land Tax Holiday, something that has been casting a shadow since its introduction last year.

In summary the mantra of economic development of maintaining our low tax status whilst protecting the vulnerable and front line services probably sums it up.

There were some fairly long speeches and undoubtedly an element of grandstanding with the election looming.

We did however finish the Budget and 13 other related items by about 18:30, the other items were to do with altering various acts to accommodate the Budget changes we then managed to move through 14 items of the main order paper which means we may finish later today, not Thursday.