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Economic Sovereignty - DUP missing the point

25 September, 2003

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson, former chairperson of the Assembly Finance and Personnel Committee, Mid Ulster representative Francie Molloy has said that the DUP are missing the point on the debate opening up around the need for greater economic sovereignty.

Cllr Molloy said:

"Unless the people running the DUP are complete morons I fail to understand how they could have missed the fact that the money in people‚s pockets is already being assailed from all directions. Very shortly unless we can build the political momentum to stop it, they will also have to dig deep to pay for the imposition of water charges and massive rates increases to meet the demands of the Reform and Reinvestment Initiative.

"The fundamental reason why decent hard working people here are being put in this position is that being tied to the British Exchequer requires us to mirror a British government obsession with indirect taxation, double taxation, back door taxation or whatever you want to call it.

"This means that down the line we will have more taxes that are not linked to either what people earn or their ability to pay. This means that people on low and medium incomes are being forced to pay a significantly higher proportion of their disposable income and are consequentially poorer as a result.

"Greater economic sovereignty would put a local Executive in a powerful position. It would enable them to roll back these unfair forms of indirect taxation. Mr Robinson derides the use of targeted tax breaks as a vital tool to support employment and sustain and develop the strength of the local economy yet such mechanisms have been shown to be effective in many places throughout the world.

"If we are to really challenge the poverty in our society, to transform our divided society and to address the infrastructure deficit created by decades of massive under investment the reality is that we need to spend money but we need to spend it wisely because we have such scarce resources.

"However Peter Robinson fails to address the issue of a peace dividend and the need for the British government to transfer expenditure on the British war machine to rebuilding a society emerging from conflict.

"The British government are no doubt delighted that they managed to con people into the Reform and Reinvestment Initiative while not coming under any pressure to put the money spent on maintaining the British war machine to more productive use.

"The reality is that we have a relatively small tax revenue base that is unsustainable without substantial subvention from the British Exchequer. However, the costs of maintaining the British war machine eat into that subvention. That is way the British government is looking to take ever increasing amounts from local people to pay for the investment that successive British administration have failed to deliver." ENDS

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