Sinn Féin Vice-Chair of the Enterprise committee, Phil Flanagan MLA has called on the Executive to re-examine the economic relationship with the British Exchequer following confirmation that households here are an average of £43 per week worse off than those in Britain.
Mr Flanagan said:
“Figures which I have received in response to a question to the Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton on disposable income per region shows that for 2010 whichare the most recent available show that the average disposable income per household in the North is £2,240 per annum less than the British average.
“In fact it is £7,140 per year worse off than households in London which is where the British Chancellor’s economic policies are designed to have the most beneficial impact.
“The British economy has greater regional disposable income differentials than any other European economy with households in the North of Ireland suffering the worst effects of its fiscal policies.
“The imbalances within the British economy are as a direct result of British economic and monetary policy which takes no account of unique social and economic conditions outside of London and particularly in the North of Ireland.
“This together with George Osborne’s stated intention yesterday to ‘finish the job’ with a continued welfare cuts agenda following the next election ensures that those on low incomes or benefit dependent will be trapped in a never-ending poverty cycle.
“These figures and the British Chancellor’s uncaring attitude to the plight of the most vulnerable in society must surely persuade any party who claims to have the welfare of those who elected them at heart, that clearly the fiscal link between the North and Britain requires an urgent reassessment.
“As Sinn Féin has long advocated, it is long past time that we demand the necessary tools to build a just, fair and equitable economy in the North. There is no place in modern society for such an undemocratic and top-down structure as Westminster - London Centred Tory monetary Policy has no return for the people of the north.
“We cannot continue to depend on a Government which has no elected mandate – a Tory Party which was in fact rejected at the ballot box here - to continue to dictate our economic future. It is time we begin a proper discussion on the democratic reform of the northern economy in consultation with the southern administration to create a single island economy that will be to the benefit of all those across this island.”