Assembly will not be a puppet to Tory austerity – McCartney

Foyle Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney
Foyle Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said British Government resistance to further devolution undermines progress made in the Assembly and devolved institutions in Scotland and Wales.

He was speaking after a series of meetings were held with Scottish Government officials and Members of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh as part of the Finance Committee’s inquiry into the Barnett formula.

The Foyle MLA said: “The problems we are trying to resolve in the face of Tory cuts to Executive budgets and welfare are made significantly more difficult by the fact we have no control over our own fiscal levers in the Assembly.

“Without any control over taxation the Tory government is attempting to force us to accept their austerity agenda through reducing budgets. “This is not sustainable. Scotland will receive some limited fiscal levers in the next couple of years. However, both the Belfast and Edinburgh Assemblies need to receive full taxation powers to work effectively and avoid being undermined by Westminster policy making in the future.

“It is now clearer than ever before that fiscal levers need to be transferred to the Assembly.

“Economic policy set in London has fundamentally undermined our political structures. The Assembly cannot and will not be a puppet to the Tory government and its austerity project.”