McGuinness criticises PM after Corporation Tax meeting

DEPUTY First Minister Martin McGuinness has launched a stinging attack on British Prime Minister David Cameron over the issue of Corporation Tax.

It was after he met with the PM at 10 Downing Street, London on Tuesday.

In a statement released following the meeting, Mr McGuinness said that the Conservative leader’s “performance” was the “most unconvincing” he had witnessed from a British Prime Minister.

“I have in the course of the past 20 years dealt directly with three British Prime Ministers and three US Presidents.

“I have to say yesterday’s performance by David Cameron in Downing Street was the most unconvincing performance I have witnessed throughout that time by any of them, he said.

“On the issue of Corporation Tax I have little confidence that Mr Cameron has any intention of transferring these powers even after the Scottish Referendum is out of the way.

Following the meeting, David Cameron said he will not make a decision on the devolution of corporation tax until after the Scottish independence referendum.

Downing Street said the decision on handing the power to set the key business tax to the Executive would be taken in the autumn of 2014.

First Minister Peter Robinson, also present at the meeting, said he is not giving up on the campaign to reduce the level of corporation tax in Northern Ireland.

Mr McGuinness added: “In Downing Street yesterday, as I had done last week with President Obama, I pressed him on the failure of the British government to honour the financial package which flowed from the St. Andrews Agreement. The £4bn shortfall in this package has had a direct impact on the construction industry here.

“I also once again raised the approach of his government to the issue of Welfare Reforms and the attack on the most vulnerable and ordinary hard working families here. Again I was unimpressed by Mr Cameron’s response.

He added: “I have on a number of occasions throughout his time as British Prime Minister been critical of the approach of David Cameron to both the Executive and Assembly and indeed the management of the wider Peace Process. The events of this week show clearly that my criticisms were well founded.

“It is now up to the Executive working collectively to map out a way forward on the important issues of Economic Recovery, Job Creation and Welfare Reform. It is up to the British Government on the other hand to rethink their approach and honour the commitments made at St. Andrew’s and to act on the issue of Corporation Tax a policy for years promoted by the Tory party.”