McKay selected as Finance Committee chairman

NORTH Antrim MLA Daithí McKay has been selected by Sinn Féin to replace Conor Murphy MP as Chairperson of the Assembly’s Finance Committee.

The Rasharkin man served in the same role during the last Assembly term and has been the party’s Education spokesperson since the 2011 Elections. The role of the Assembly Committee is to hold the Finance Minister Sammy Wilson to account.

Mr McKay said: “There is no doubt that the economy and employment in particular are huge issues for people at the current moment in time. I am very much looking forward to getting to work in the Finance Committee and progressing key issues such as ensuring that public monies are allocated and spent prudently and also looking at issues such as those the Committee have already considered like Air Passenger Duty which can benefit tourism and business alike.

“There are clearly savings to be made by reducing duplication and overlapping expenditure across the island. We also need to be in a position to take decisions on matters like fuel duty for ourselves. The differing positions between the Executive and the British government in regard to corporation tax shows quite clearly why we need to take charge of our own economic destiny and ensure that decisions are made in the best interests of the people that we represent.

“What has never been revealed is the amount of tax revenues collected through VAT, Income Tax, Custom & Excise and a myriad of other taxes which go directly to the British Exchequer. One of the effects of partition has been to create the impression that we are irretrievably dependent on subsidy from the British Exchequer.

“We need to test that. The Finance Minister should request from the British Government an accurate Revenue/Expenditure Report. I believe it would be very interesting and illuminating if we had properly accounted figures telling us how much revenue is actually generated in the North for the British Exchequer against the finance returned in the form of the Block grant.

“It would be beneficial to the debate around the transfer of fiscal powers and the building of an all-Ireland economy if we were in possession of all the facts concerning tax revenue including the profits of British based chain stores, oil companies etc generated here but taxed as profits declared by the parent companies located in Britain.

“This should be then used to inform the debate on the sustainability of an all-Ireland economy and more immediately the debate on the transfer of fiscal powers to the Assembly. It does not make sense for us to have decisions made for us that are in the interests of another economy.”