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Sinn Féin response to Gordon Brown Budget

22 March, 2006

Sinn Féin economy spokesperson Mitchel McLaughlin MLA has said that there is little in the Gordon Brown Budget for the North and said that is was time that political parties took responsibility for the future prosperity and well being of this part of Ireland by removing excuses for Executive government.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"There are some things that are welcome in this budget, particularly in relation to Research and Development and innovation. These are areas where this is surprising consensus between political parties and the business sector and social partners.

"The fact that there is so little in this Budget for the North only reinforces the need for local political parties to take responsibility for the future prosperity and wellbeing of this part of Ireland by removing excuses for Executive government.

"There is nothing to allow us to look at corporation tax despite the emerging consensus that moving towards convergence with the rest of Ireland would be very beneficial and there is also nothing to allow us to tackle the very serious problem of economic inactivity rates that exists here.

Education Spokesperson Michael Ferguson MLA said:

"Peter Hain says that the Budget will mean an additional 26 million over the next 2 years. We now need to see how this money will impact on the ground because across the education boards there are big deficits and when new money for after schools clubs was announced in England last year all we got here was the threatened closure of our own after schools clubs.

"However Sinn Féin have repeatedly called for a greater involvement of the business sector in higher and further education and particularly in vocational training and apprenticeships.

Housing Spokesperson Fra McCann MLA added:

"The obsession with co-ownership is not healthy. It fails to deal with either the shortage of social housing or the lack of affordable housing. However, there is stark contrast in the priority given to housing in England and the priority given to housing by British ministers here.

Environment Spokesperson Philip McGuigan said:

"While some of the moves around smaller cars will grab the headlines it will probably make little impact. Of greater concern is the determination to press on with emissions trading which is one of the greatest barriers to compliance." ENDS

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