Thursday, 22 March 2012
Finance Bill 2012 (Certified Money Bill): Committee and Remaining Stages
Jimmy Harte (Labour)
I agree with the Minister that the VAT increase may not be desirable but it is not a breaking point for many businesses in the Border area and Sinn Féin should know this. There is a tradition in Donegal of going to Derry or Strabane and vice versa. A huge amount of cars from Northern Ireland can be seen on bank holiday Mondays. We benefit both ways. We must get the economy going again or perhaps have only one currency on the island. We must strive for this. We cannot let this continue. A small business being established in Donegal must tell the bank it can forecast the exchange rate which it cannot. It is difficult to get money but it is also difficult for the banks. Everything is fine but what if sterling falls or rises? It is a variable that cannot be controlled in the Border area.
I am in a small business myself and I know all about it unlike those Senators who are not in business, with no disrespect to them. Being in business at present is very difficult. We must get the fundamentals right and we cannot speak about alternatives until we do so. The fundamentals are reducing costs and rates and getting the economy going again. A 1% or 2% increase in VAT is a matter of swings and roundabouts in the Border area.