Budget Bill: Second Stage

Part of Executive Committee Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 6:30 pm on 9th February 2016.

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Photo of Daithí McKay Daithí McKay Sinn Féin 6:30 pm, 9th February 2016

Absolutely. I agree with the Minister. The deputy First Minister and others, including my party colleague Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, have greatly trumpeted the benefits of getting the corporation tax rate correct and selling it to the United States and to the many economies that we are looking inward investment from. However, I have to say — I said this yesterday — that we need to get it right by having a fair deal from Westminster. If we are to reduce the corporation tax rate, we need to ensure that Westminster gives us a fair deal. Scotland has raised the issue of getting a fair deal, and I use the party opposite's slogan extensively these days about getting a fair deal, but it is absolutely right because we need to ensure that we get the rate of corporation tax right and that we are not short-changed by Westminster, especially the Treasury.

The Treasury is a secretive organisation that gives us some quite woolly figures about the revenues that come out of this part of the world. That needs to be a priority. There needs to be more transparency from the Treasury, and I think that the new Executive need to ensure that we take a magnifying glass to the revenue figures that come out of Belfast and the North and to ensure that Treasury is providing us with the full detail. The centralised nature of the Treasury has caused great frustration amongst all the devolved Assemblies — here, in Wales and in Scotland — and I think that we need to strengthen our challenge function. Certainly, the Finance Committee has not been found wanting in exploring that and looking at matters such as the Barnett formula, but I believe that is something that the Executive and the new selection of Ministers need to prioritise.

I am very conscious that we are in for another late night, so I look forward to the debate, and I support the motion.