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Northern Ireland business groups give mixed reaction to Budget 2013

Northern Ireland business groups have broadly welcomed Budget 2013 although concerns remain over the country's rising unemployment figures.

Northern Ireland, in particular, is expected to benefit from the Employer's Allowance - which will take up to £2,000 off the national insurance bill for employers - due to its higher concentration of small- and medium-sized businesses compared to the rest of the UK.

Director of Northern Ireland's Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said: "Today's budget statement has gone some way to building business and consumer confidence with a number of measures being of key note."

"The agreement to exempt Northern Ireland electricity generators from the Carbon Floor Price effective from 1 April is something CBI has lobbied hard for. This tax would have cost Northern Ireland £175 million over the next five years, which would have had a detrimental impact on commercial and domestic energy prices."

It also welcomed an additional £94 million of capital spending power for the Northern Ireland Executive, which it said would help create jobs and start a number of key infrastructure programmes.

Mark Nodder, president of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the new employment allowance but called for a faster cut in corporation tax for the country.

"Whilst we welcome the one per cent reduction in corporation tax, it is not enough for Northern Ireland. Ahead of the first and deputy first ministers' meeting with the prime minister on 26 March, we urge the Treasury to speed up their response on the call from the Northern Ireland Executive and the local business community for a reduction in corporation tax to the rate currently operational in the Republic of Ireland."