SF’s economic policies

 

Sir, – Eoin Ó Murchú takes me to task (Letters, December 21st) for my seeming ignorance (December 20th) of the fact that the Executive in what he refers to as the northern statelet has no revenue-raising powers of its own and is completely dependent on whatever money the British exchequer allows it.

His “fact” is not, in fact, a fact. The 2021-22 Budget delivered by the Sinn Féin Minister for Finance tells us that a number of sources contribute to the NI Budget (the number is six). It is indeed a fact that the block grant from London is by far the most important funding.

But there are others over which the Executive has control.

The most important is regional rates. The budget acknowledges that an increase in the regional rate would provide additional funding for central services but that the Executive had taken a decision to freeze it at the previous year’s level.

This was a perfectly defensible political decision.

But the point is that it was a choice. The Executive might have increased the rate and increased the rather derisory support provided to those who lost their jobs because of Covid.

It decided not to.

Mr Ó Murchú’s essential point is a fair one. There are limits to what the Executive can spend so that difficult choices must be confronted. Sinn Féin’s politicians in this part of the world affect the belief that this fairly basic fiscal consideration does not apply here. – Yours, etc,

PAT O’BRIEN,

Rathmines,

Dublin 6.