Sinn Féin MLA and Finance spokesperson Daithí McKay has stated that British Secretary of State Theresa Villiers is attempting to paper over the cracks when it comes to economic well-being in the North of Ireland.
His comments follow a speech made by Ms Villiers to the British Irish Chamber of Commerce International conference where she claimed that the British government had 'comprehensively won the economic argument' in terms of an austerity agenda.
Speaking today Mr McKay said:
“The British Secretary of State Theresa Villiers speech has ignored the economic reality in the north of Ireland. Under the Tory driven austerity agenda it is very clear that economic development in the North is the last thing on the agenda in Westminster.
"The policies of austerity, from both London and Dublin, have failed and economic recovery will be even longer and harder while both governments fail to recognise this. The fact that the British Secretary of State says we are still in the early stages of economic recovery is an admission that we have been that way since her government came to power in 2010!
“She completely ignores the facts that we are still waiting on the promised peace dividend from Westminster, that the Welfare cuts agenda will remove up to £750m from the local economy and that £4bn was taken from the block grant under the Tory led coalition.
“Only last week a report by the Resolution Foundation highlighted that the North of Ireland suffered the worst in the recession yet this receives no mention in Ms Villiers speech. Incomes fell by 10% compared to 3.3% in the south of England.
“It is clear that Theresa Villiers is attempting to paper over the cracks of the British government's austerity measures.
“We are still waiting on the British Government to provide 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.”