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Britain’s fiscal policies detrimental to our economy’ Martina Anderson Sinn Féin MEP

3 April, 2013 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin MEP, Martina Anderson commenting on the recent British Chancellor’s budget said that some people across the North of Ireland will have been disappointed by the refusal of the British government to transfer corporation tax measures to the Executive, but most will not be surprised

Martina Anderson said

“Some people across the north will have been disappointed by the failure of the British government to transfer Corporation Tax setting measures to the Executive but most will not be surprised.

“For Republicans this will not come as a shock but it may be a wake-up call to those who believe that the British government act in the best interests of the people here. The living conditions, business or job prospects of people living in the north of Ireland will always be secondary and any benefits will be minimal and collateral rather than intended. We are never a factor in the political or economic planning of any British government unless it is in its own selfish interests.

“The transfer of Corporation Tax was never seen as a magic bullet which would transform the lives of everyone here but it most definitely would have put us in the position that we could compete on a level footing with the rest of the island. It would have been another tool to attract foreign direct investment and create much needed jobs.

“The refusal to concede on this initiative was purely political. Those political reasons can be summed up in one word, Scotland. The British government so concerned about the outcome of the referendum in Scotland are afraid that we will demonstrate that with just minimally extra fiscal power such as this that we can make a positive impact on our regional economy thereby influencing the Scottish people to go for full independence.

“And the people of the north have to pay the price for a British government's preoccupation on getting one over on Alex Salmond.

“But it could backfire on David Cameron because – as even Peter Robinson has acknowledged – it could send the message to the Scottish people that the only way they are going to achieve fiscal autonomy is by going for independence. Peter Robinson should also acknowledge that the same principle applies here. If we are to devise an economy that will deliver security and stability for our people it will have to be one over which we have full fiscal control.

“The failure to deliver on Corporation Tax must be seen in the context of the British government, cutting the Executive Block Grant by almost £4 billion, reneging on the Peace Dividend flowing from the St Andrews Agreement and cutting funding to Europe which will mean substantive cuts to the Common Agriculture Fund and the impact that that will have for farming and fishing communities here.

“This must also be seen from the perspective of the effect that a reduction in Peace Funding and Structural Funds and the onslaught of "Welfare Reform" will have on some of our most vulnerable people. The British Chancellor claims that his cuts are designed to reduce the welfare budget. The way to cut the welfare budget is by getting people back to work and while lower corporation tax would not be a panacea for all our ills it would be a step in the right direction in creating the conditions for job creation.

“So for everyone, nationalists and unionists alike, the message is simple, unless we are masters of our own political and economic destiny then our needs will play second fiddle to Westminster's political agenda. It’s time that we took control.”

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