David Ford said: “Northern Ireland faces a choice. The choice is between footing the heavy bill for a divided society or building a shared future.
“As well as huge human and social costs, the deep divisions in Northern Ireland carry huge economic and financial implications for our society. During Community Relations week, we wants to draw attention to these economic and financial costs.
“Within the next few weeks, a report commissioned by OFMDFM through Deloittes will land on the desks of our new First Minister and Deputy First Minister.
“As part of the shared future strategy, this report will set out the cost of segregation, and explain the choices that must be made. Alliance estimates that £1bn of public expenditure is wasted in dealing with the direct and indirect costs of managing a divided society.
“To put this into perspective, this figure is greater than the total sum that would be raised from water charges and rates combined.
“This cash spent on segregation is essentially wasted and could instead be spent improving heath and education, ending stealth taxes and fixing our crumbling infrastructure.
“The choice is simple. Northern Ireland can continue wasting one billion pound every year on segregation and lose out on opportunities for a better society – Or we can build a shared future and reap the benefits of bringing down the wall of social Apartheid and have far better local services.”