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Sinn Féin attack British Government's mishandling of north's economy

14 February, 2013

Sinn Féin MLA Daithi McKay, the party's economy spokesperson in the Assembly, has hit out at recent examples of the Coalition government's neglect of opportunities to improve the north's economy.

Mr McKay said:

"At the current time, the British government gives the clear impression of being dis-engaged from any attempt to fight for the north's economic future. 

"The North's EU regional aid status is of huge significance to the local economy and yet the British government in London are making no efforts to intervene, in the face of attempts by the European Commission to remove the status we hold currently. This is despite the fact that there is strong Executive cross-party agreement and co-operation on lobbying on this issue at MEP, MP & ministerial level - all of which is being ignored by the British government.

"This dereliction of their role on this issue, along with their support for a cut in the EU Budget at the recent Council meeting would allow people to be forgiven for thinking that the British Government has no interest in protecting the economic interests of the north. The proposed cut to the EU Budget would have unhelpful consequences for many in the north, with reduced amounts available for CAP Single Farm Payments and for projects seeking funding from a Peace IV programme", McKay continued. 

"When the Tory led coalition came into power, they slashed the funding available to the Executive by £4billion, they are currently cutting welfare to a degree that it will have an huge impact on public spending and on areas such as retail, and they are continuing to adopt policies of austerity that will only deepen the recession.

"The Executive are continuing to fight our corner but the British Government and in particular the Secretary of State Theresa Villiers, supposedly the North's voice at the Cabinet table, has been nowhere to be seen! People here once again find themselves being treated as an afterthought by British government policy and it is ludicrous to pretend, as many unionist politicians do that they will act in our best interests.

"Significant decisions could be taken today or tomorrow in relation to corporation tax and air passenger duty to boost inward investment, tourism and create thousands of jobs over the next number of years. The British Government will not make these decisions as our economy is not a primary interest and therefore our economic welfare continues to suffer as a result."

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