Don’t give us more power at Stormont, says Sammy Wilson

Sammy Wilson
Sammy Wilson

Former finance minister Sammy Wilson has said the devolution of more powers to Stormont would be a “disaster”.

Mr Wilson suggested to Glasgow newspaper The Herald that Stormont was unable to handle the powers which it already has.

Mr Wilson has long been a critic of devolving corporation tax to Stormont, despite his party strongly arguing for that to happen. It is expected that if Scotland votes against independence then more powers will be devolved to both Holyrood and Belfast. The MLA and MP told The Herald: “On a competency level and the more things we devolve the more difficult it becomes for the coalition to manage them.

“It would be a disaster. We have reached the impasse over welfare reform and built in to our system is the power of veto. The more fiscal powers the more costly it will be for Northern Ireland. If there is more devolved to Scotland we are going to get the same. In practical terms given our set-up we can’t handle this. Scotland does not have the same coalition set-up.”

The article highlighted the province’s huge subvention from the Treasury and Mr Wilson told the paper: “By sticking two fingers up at Westminster Alex Salmond is drawing the attention of English MPs to resources going to the periphery. He is doing Northern Ireland a disservice by tweaking their noses.”

Last week the TUV leader Jim Allister gave a similar warning. He said that “the Stormont which squabbles over cuts and welfare reform is demonstrably unfit to handle the devolution of corporation tax powers”.