“The only one talking nonsense is Sammy Wilson” – Conor Murphy MP
Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy (Newry/Armagh) commenting on Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson’s fantasy economics rant in the Assembly yesterday said:
“It is time Sammy Wilson met the challenge that if he really believes that we are ‘billions — not millions — of pounds better off as part of the United Kingdom’ to produce the facts and figures to verify it.
“Both Sammy Wilson and the British Government have refused to disclose any credible information to support their claim that we are inextricably tied to the British economy. What are they afraid of?
“Unless The Finance Minister has carried out a full economic assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of the British connection as opposed to being part of an all-Ireland economy then his claims are not evidence or factually based.
“Every time Sinn Féin questions the veracity of the claims we are fed a diet of guestimations that even the British government’s own Office of National Statistics or Treasury do not accept as correct.
“Sinn Féin has requested figures off the Finance Department regarding the 23 revenue streams that are generated within the north and the 17 expenditure streams, without success. Rather than provide this valuable information which is in the public interest and crucial to our ability to engage in economic planning, Sammy Wilson has opted to politicise and personalise the debate.
“If Sammy is so confident of the massive benefits we receive from the British connection then let him expose Sinn Féin’s ‘fairy tale economics’ and insist that the British Treasury furnish us with verifiable income and expenditure figures. We need the full disclosure of all information relating to the economy in the north if we are to properly manage our economy.
“Again Mr Wilson says, ‘Our taxes are paid into the Consolidated Fund, and twice as much comes back out again’. Well, give us the figures and prove it!
“The other devolved administrations have reassessed their fiscal relationship with Westminster and found the so-called claims of total dependency on the largesse of the British Treasury to be greatly exaggerated. The question that must be answered is why are attempts to access similar information regarding our economic situation being blocked by DFP.
“Economists with no affiliation to Sinn Féin have also been calling for this information. John Bradley a senior and respected economist has often said that we do not have access to enough information to properly address our economic challenges. This call has most recently been endorsed by Tom Healy, Director responsible for research on the economy of both parts of Ireland at the Nevin Economic Research Institute. It’s time we received answers to these questions!”