Murphy: ‘Time to show self-confidence and demand more Fiscal Powers for Assembly’

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Saturday, March 31st, 2012
Budget 2012, News, Politics
Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy has said that now is the time to show self-confidence and demand more fiscal powers for the Stormont Assembly. Murphy’s remarks came after the 2012 Budget was announced by British Chancellor George Osborne, who introduced a wide range of cuts across Northern Ireland. He claimed the 2012 Budget highlighted a lack of attention to issues specific to the economic situation in the Northern Ireland and Murphy, who is also Sinn Fein Economy Spokesperson, reiterated his Party’s demand for increased fiscal powers for the Assembly. Murphy said, “The Budget by British Chancellor, George Osborne this week once more demonstrated the predictable focus of the British government on the economy of the island of Britain with the North of Ireland peripheral to any measures intended to rebalance the economy. While unionists rail against transfer of increased fiscal powers with spurious excuses about threats to the block grant, the British government has no difficulty recognising where its focus needs to be regardless of the effect on the economy of the North. Whether through direct unilateral decisions to cut the block grant or through austerity measures that reduce disposable income here, the British government displays no concern about the negative effect that its actions have on the standard of living of citizens in the North of Ireland.” “By contrast Scottish politicians are demonstrating a self confidence in their ability to manage their own economy. Just last week Alex Salmond concluded a negotiation with the British government which transfers significant new tax and borrowing powers worth billions of pounds to Edinburgh enabling it among other things to set a Scottish income tax rate. I believe that it is time for the Assembly here to show the same degree of self-confidence and demand more fiscal powers to enable us to devise new and imaginative economic policies specific to our own financial circumstances.” Murphy added, “Sinn Féin has always highlighted the inability of the Executive to invest properly in our economic recovery while dependent on fiscal decisions taken in Britain. And without the ability to raise finance through measures such as tax-varying or borrowing powers, we have no choice but to manage our steadily reducing budget, imposed by London.”  

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