Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy commenting on British Secretary of State Theresa Villiers statement that ‘disagreement over welfare reform and the budget must be sorted out before a cut to the business tax rate is made’ said:
“I welcome the announcement of all-Party Talks. Sinn Féin has been calling on the governments for some time now to convene these talks and I welcome the fact the Irish and British governments are now committed to making them happen.
“The British government has been part of the problem in the political process in the North. It’s now time it became part of the solution and problem solvers rather than have Ms Villiers introduce further obstacles and preconditions.
“There can be no preconditions, threats or preconceived outcomes to the negotiations and as such the British government should immediately lift its threat to impose severe financial penalties on the North’s Executive.
“Instead of Theresa Villiers seeking to draw back from her Prime Minister’s commitment on corporation tax, the transfer of full fiscal powers to the Executive should be on the table in the wake of promises made to Scotland after its referendum
“We need the transfer of a full suite of fiscal powers. These include corporation tax and the tax varying powers needed to grow our economy in the aftermath of the British government’s cut to our block grant by billions over the last four years and its reneging on commitments made to boost our economy. “