Sinn Féin Spokesperson Gearóid O hEára has said that the imposition of a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) levy on hauliers traveling from the 26 counties is detrimentally impacting on economic recovery here.
Mr. O hEára said:
“Under new legislation introduced by the British Government, all HGVs crossing the border from April of this year are liable to a £10 per day levy. As someone working closely with the social economy and business sector in the border region I know the potential damage this will cause.
“This is a particularly regressive measure which has the potential to cost jobs and will certainly damage the development of an all-Ireland economy.
“This levy will penalise already hard-pressed small and medium businesses. The high price of fuel coupled with this new charge will negatively impact on businesses that utilise haulage firms. Inevitably the costs will be passed on to the consumer resulting in higher costs for goods and services.
“The levy has the potential to separate the northern economy from the rest of the island, at a time when the emphasis should be placed on building island wide trade which generates £2.3 billion annually for both economies on the island. Increasing barriers to trade can only harm both economies.
“Sinn Féin has been vocal in its opposition to this move and our representatives, north and south have been to the forefront in highlighting the issue at every elected forum.
“As this is a tax the Assembly has no competency in the matter but the British Secretary of State (BSoS) has the power to exempt the roads in the North from liability for it. This is another example which dictates the need to demand the full suite of fiscal powers for the Assembly.
“Sinn Féin brought the matter to the floor of the Assembly in order to highlight the negative impact it is having on our economy and we will continue to fight it at every opportunity. We will continue putting pressure on the BSoS, in the interests of our local economy, to have our roads exempt from this regressive taxation.
“The British government needs to amend the legislation to exempt the north from this regressive charge. The Irish government must also use its influence in Europe and with their British counterparts to stop this charge which has the potential to severely affect the future viability of small and medium businesses especially along the already struggling border region.” CRÍOCH/END