Northern Ireland at "the crossroads" economically - Tories

The crisis over welfare reform and the budget has “left Northern Ireland at a crossroads, economically and politically”, according to Conservative Party spokesman, Johnny Andrews.  Mr Andrews made his comments after Sinn Féin chairperson, Declan Kearney, claimed that the Executive cannot afford to cut Corporation Tax.

“To paraphrase Terence O’Neill, we’re coming to the point where we have to decide what sort of economy and what sort of politics we want in Northern Ireland”, Johnny commented.  “Do we want the kind of dependency culture promoted by Sinn Féin, with a stagnant private sector and lengthening dole queues?  Or do we want a vibrant, modern, prosperous economy, based on encouraging enterprise and creating sustainable, skill-based private sector jobs?  With Stormont discussing a budget based on fantasy figures and with the highest youth unemployment rates in the UK, Sinn Féin in particular has plunged us into a crisis where uncertainty is likely to further stifle job creation and investment”.

“To add to the worsening picture, Mr Kearney now wants to rule out using the one potentially game-changing lever we have to improve our economy and attract investment, which is to cut Corporation Tax.  His view is madness and it demonstrates just how badly Northern Ireland needs politics based on a realistic debate about the economy.  We cannot continue with the fantasy economics of the Stormont parties and we need a strong, centre-right voice, which is prepared to speak for enterprise and entrepreneurship as the only sustainable engines of wealth creation here.”