The East Antrim Assembly member stated: “Although Scotland has not used the powers, the fact they are available has allowed the Scottish Executive to take responsibility for bringing about social improvements. The provision of free care for the elderly and the Scottish student grants system are prime examples of this.
“Tax-varying powers would enable local politicians to take responsibility for the budget spent here, and to improve Northern Ireland’s economic competitiveness and attractiveness to investors. Rates and corporation tax differentials were central to the growth of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ in the Republic, and it is essential we have a direct say over these issues so we can try to do likewise.
“The Treasury in London is attempting to restrict our budget and to limit all aspects of social and economic investment here. That is why there is growing support for the Alliance proposals, to enable us to enjoy more freedom over our own budget.”