‘The Left Alternative to Austerity’

Joe Austin (Sinn Fein), Gemma Weir (Workers Party) and Ciaran Higgins (People Before Profit)

Joe Austin (Sinn Fein), Gemma Weir (Workers Party) and Kieran Allen (People Before Profit)

Lowering Corporation Tax and the continued use of Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) to  fund public projects at huge expense have not been ruled out by Sinn Fein.

The admissions came during a discussion on ‘The Left Alternative to Austerity’ – part of the West Belfast Festival.

Workers Party representative Gemma Weir, who was one of the panelists, questioned Sinn Fein’s approach to lower corporation tax, arguing that it was yet another tax break for the rich which did not guarantee one new job.

Sinn Fein’s Joe Austin admitted that while his party wanted fiscal powers devolved they have yet to decide whether they would use those powers to lower corporation tax. He also failed to give an assurance that Sinn Fein would oppose the use of PFI funding for public projects.

PFI means that  a consortium of private sector banks and construction firms finance, own, operate and lease back schools and hospitals to the taxpayer, over a period of 30-35 years. It has been described as like ‘paying for a hospital on your credit card’.

Read Gemma’s opening remarks here: ‘Austerity _ is there a left wing alternative?

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