Northern Ireland

'Time not right' for tax hikes says Sammy Wilson

finance minister sammy wilson
Image caption Finance Minister Sammy Wilson said he would only look at raising taxes when the recession is over

The finance minister has said he will look at raising taxes as soon as Northern Ireland starts to emerge from recession.

Sammy Wilson was responding to criticism that he did not exhaust all possible sources of additional revenue in the executive's draft budget

"We have to take into consideration the fact that we are currently in the middle of recession," Mr Wilson said.

He said tax raises would have to be looked at "in the right context".

"Some of the revenue schemes would mean dipping further into people's pockets," he added.

"I don't believe this is the appropriate time to do it.

"As we come out of the recession and as things improve economically, there may be new opportunities for revenue streams there for local taxes or whatever and we've got to look at those."

The draft budget is aimed at saving £4bn over the next four years, with cuts planned across all departments.

On Wednesday, Mr Wilson told the Assembly finance committee where he hoped to secure additional revenue.

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