Dr Stephen Farry stated: “The Liberal Democrats have been proven right in highlighting the problems that have led to the economic downturn, and have now indicated the appropriate emphasis in working for an economic recovery.
“A fiscal stimulus is required to generate economic activity. But in providing this, the opportunity should be taken to re-balance our economy. Dealing with climate change may involve many challenges, but it also provides huge, new economic opportunities, particularly in providing increased energy efficiency and developing technology to access renewable energy.
“The Northern Ireland Executive is increasingly out of step with other jurisdictions on these islands and elsewhere in the world in not investing in the green road to recovery. Developing the green economy was not a theme in the Executive’s package, nor was this theme addressed by either the First Minister or the Finance Minister.
“Despite his announcements not being ambitious enough, the UK Chancellor Alistair Darling did at least announce in the Pre-Budget Statement that £535m would be spent on environmental investments. The UK Government is also to spend an extra £1bn on social housing. The Scottish Executive is making their own new investments. In the Republic of Ireland, the Taoiseach Brian Cowen yesterday published his Government’s new economic strategy, “Building Ireland’s Smart Economy: A Framework for Sustainable Economic Renewal”, which included developing the green economy as a core theme. In the United States, the incoming Obama Administration is set to deliver the ‘Green New Deal.’
“Hopefully, it is not too late for the Stormont Executive to reflect on critical thinking elsewhere and apply these principles in Northern Ireland.”