Commenting on British Revenue and Customs figures released today relating to revenue raised in the North of Ireland Sinn Féin Economic Spokesperson Daithí McKay said:
“Once more we have an agency of the British government involved in an exercise of economic deception regarding the extent to which the North contributes to the coffers of the British Exchequer.
“Rather than produce verifiable figures for revenue generated here, once more we have been presented with a guesstimate, based on the results of a ‘survey’ conducted across 147 households in the North.
“In recent years we have seen prosecutions here by Revenue and Customs of people accused of VAT fraud – I’m sure that the extent of this alleged fraud is not based on the results of a survey of 147 households. The Excise Agency has a full portfolio of all VAT registered businesses in the North of Ireland therefore they know exactly how much VAT is collectible; otherwise it would not be able to identify those who attempt to evade tax due. Why will it not produce audited figures based on the actual revenue collected?
“The same evasiveness applies to the level of corporation tax collected from major stores, oil companies and other businesses operating in the North but declaring their income from headquarters in Britain. There also continues to be no information forthcoming on the level of other revenue streams generated in the north.
“Just as worrying as the reluctance by Revenue to provide verifiable figures, is the fact that it and the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) use an almost identical manner of guesstimation, yet get vastly different results.
“For 2010-11 the year for which the most recent (mis)information is available from DFP it told us that Revenue and Customs generated £10.45bn in receipts from the North, yet Revenue tell us that the figure is £9.5bn, so who is right? The answer is neither. These quesstimates are a distraction from the fact that there is no accuarate information forthcoming from either on revenue generated here.
“It is long past time that both DFP and the British Government provided us with the exact figures for all revenue generated in the north. We will only know the true economic picture pertaining here by demanding full fiscal powers and taking control of our own economy. Only then will we be able to fashion policies and programmes tailored to our specific needs.”