The Sinn Féin candidate for the EU Midlands North West constituency, Matt Carthy, has called for the north to be made exempt from a proposed levy on HGVs crossing the border which is soon to be imposed by Westminster.
Carthy made his call as the party introduced a submission on the issue to the Assembly in the north.
Speaking in Galway today Cllr Carthy said:
“Under new legislation being introduced by the British government, all HGVs crossing between border areas and the six counties will be liable to pay up £10 a day. Areas like Donegal will be particularly affected by this regressive measure.
“This levy will penalise already hard-pressed small and medium businesses. The high price of fuel coupled with this new charge will negatively impact on businesses that utilise haulage firms. Inevitably the costs would eventually come back to hit the average consumer.
“The levy has the potential to separate the northern economy from the rest of the island, at a time when the emphasis should be placed upon building island wide trade which generates £2.3 billion for both economies on the island. Increasing barriers to trade will harm both economies.
“Sinn Féin is leading the way north and south in opposition to this unfair charge with Pat Doherty MP highlighting the issue at Westminster level and Pearse Doherty raising the issue with government representatives in Leinster House.
“The Sinn Féin submission demands that the north be made exempt from this charge on the basis that:
· It is the only devolved area that shares a land border
· Petrol and transport costs are higher
· Roads infrastructure is developed on an island wide basis
· The levy will impact negatively on trade north/south and trade in transit (Donegal – Dublin for example)
· Impact on ports price differential will impact on northern ports that handle imports going south. There is the potential they will bypass northern ports and land in Dublin etc
· The exclusion of the north will have only a marginal impact on Treasury as any imports or exports to Britain will still have to pay the cost when landing in Britain.
“The north needs to be exempt from this regressive charge. The southern government must step in and pressure the British government to stop this charge which has the potential to severely affect the future viability of small and medium businesses along the already struggling border region.”