Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Only Assembly will deliver for local manufacturers

19 February, 2007

Sinn Féin Foyle Assembly candidate Raymond McCartney has said that only a locally accountable Executive will deliver for local manufacturers and indigenous businesses.

Speaking at the start of a campaign of events organised by the NI Manufacturing Focus Group, Mr McCartney said:

"In our response to the Preparation for Government subcommittee on the Comprehensive Spending Review Sinn Féin agreed to a freezing of industrial rates at 25% pending the outcome of a wider review into how we support local businesses.

"While the focus of the NIMFG is on a long-term cap on industrial rates Sinn Féin believe that we need to take a much broader long term view. For example, Sinn Féin proposes that the new functions of councils following the RPA should include a system of local government accountability for the spending of commercial rates, as is currently the case in the 26 Counties and that Business rates should be ring-fenced for economic development.

"Sinn Féin also believe that a number of other initiatives should be examined as part of this review into how we support our indigenous businesses, particularly in areas of social and economic disadvantage, the agricultural sector and our SME's, including:

  • Strengthening enterprise by nurturing of new businesses including a lightening the financial burden of these businesses during their start-up period
  • A system of rates relief for new businesses on the basis of agreed and accountable action plans for those businesses
  • Specific rates relief measures to businesses that locate in NTSN areas
  • A system of rates relief replacing the current industrial de-rating system that is cost-neutral
  • Special consideration for farmers and agri-food producers given the sector's vulnerability to even small variations in profitability and dependence on agriculture in the north as a source of employment and export revenue

"All of this must be placed in the context of the significant infrastructural deficit in the Six Counties, and the progressive squeezing of resources by the British Treasury. We need to recognise that business rating is only one aspect of a much wider problem that requires general reforms, including democratic control of fiscal policy and the development of an all-Ireland taxation and rating system." ENDS

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