Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Alternatives to give economy vital jump start

Your editorial, 'Stalling economy needs a jump start' (Comment, October 18), asks for alternatives to a cut in corporation tax.

Northern Ireland's problem is that it is the victim of the austerity policies of two governments: the Tory-led coalition at Westminster and the Troika-led government in Dublin. With the block grant set by the Tories at Westminster there are limited short-term fixes available to Stormont.

The Executive should stick to its stated economic strategy. It should concentrate on reducing the wasteful costs of sectarian division and duplication in education, housing and other public services. As consultants have shown, this could release up to £1bn of resources for more productive investment that would create jobs and prosperity.

Ed Balls MP and Vernon Coaker MP, on behalf of the Labour Party, made alternative suggestions to the Tory-led austerity on October 11.

They suggested:

  • a temporary cut in VAT to increase consumer spending and put money into retail;
  • a tax on bankers' bonuses to fund 2,000 real jobs for the young unemployed; and
  • using the proceeds from the 4G mobile phone auction to build 3,000 new homes here to stimulate the construction industry.

It is schemes such as these which put investment into the economy which are needed to kick-start the economy.

Cutting corporation tax will take £500-£700-a-year of spending out of the economy - with no guarantee of return.

In addition, for economic recovery, we must urgently develop cross-community Labour Party politics here to get the focus on the issue of jobs and the problems of ordinary households.

We have to get away from the politics of sectarian point-scoring which destroys jobs.

BOYD BLACK

Secretary, Labour Party in Northern Ireland

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