NI election issues guide: Economy

Westminster is responsible for the wider economy, but Stormont agrees a separate Budget for Northern Ireland to cover all devolved policy areas.

Tax-raising powers are not devolved to Stormont. Of all the regions in the UK, Northern Ireland depends most on state spending - about a third of its workforce is employed by the public sector.

Election issues 2011



Sinn Fein






  • Support the creation of 20,000 new jobs
  • Make Northern Ireland the best place in the UK to do business
  • Work to reduce corporation tax
  • Build Northern Ireland's reputation internationally as a centre for creative industries
  • Work towards ensuring affordable daytime childcare across Northern Ireland
  • Oppose British government cuts
  • Work to raise additional revenue at the executive to help offset the impact of cuts
  • Develop all-Ireland economic recovery plan
  • Reshape how government, the private and the public sectors have traditionally operated
  • Fiscal powers must be devolved to Stormont
  • Need to implement strategies to end inequality
  • Ensure the government fulfils its commitment to deliver an investment strategy worth £18bn over 10 years
  • Take a measured approach towards Northern Ireland's role in eliminating the UK's structural deficit, recognising the public sector's importance to the local economy
  • Aim to secure the devolution of powers to the assembly to enable it to set the rate of corporation tax
  • Lower the corporation tax rate progressively over several years
  • Maximise the opportunity of turning Northern Ireland into an enterprise zone with a long-term strategy to rebalance the economy and boost the private sector
  • Seek a cross-departmental enterprise strategy which encourages research, redevelopment and innovation
  • Aim to deliver an increased proportion of assembly research and procurement contracts to small and medium sized enterprises
  • Restructure the assembly budget to rebalance the economy, protect the most vulnerable and outline a serious job creation plan
  • Cut corporation tax in Northern Ireland to bring it into line with rates in the Irish Republic;
  • Make progress on North-South development and save money through new economies of scale, reduced duplication and increased specialisation
  • Implement proposals to redirect extra finances to build schools and roads, bringing unemployed construction workers back to work
  • Invest properly in Green New Deal, the agri-food industry and tourism to create tens of thousands of jobs in the next three years
  • Address the £1bn annual cost of division and reinvest the resources in modernising public services and economic drivers
  • Drive a skills strategy to meet training and employment needs
  • Implement a Green New Deal to create jobs while protecting the environment
  • Tackle red tape for business and improve access to finance
  • Ensure that public investment encourages business growth through reformed planning, better procurement and support for key industries
  • Rebalance the economy towards a larger private sector, higher productivity and greater exports, with a lower rate of corporation tax a key element
  • Protect the public sector
  • Oppose reducing the top rate of corporation tax which would mean up to £300m being slashed from public services
  • Reduce the small profits rates to boost the small business sector
  • Oppose budget cuts at both Westminster and Assembly levels
  • Suspend new road building projects to raise money
  • Oppose the privatisation of water
  • Prioritise job creation through an employment strategy that maximises private sector potential, while rebalancing public/private structure
  • Oppose tax-raising powers for Stormont to protect vulnerable public sector and SMEs
  • Reject aligning Northern Ireland economy with the Irish Republic, focusing instead on realising the full potential of east-west links and global export markets
  • Encourage entrepreneurial culture by removing burden of bureaucracy
  • Reject the plans contained in the Stormont budget

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