The Alliance Party has presented new proposals to the two Governments to meet the demands of business for political involvement in improving the economy.
David Ford will say: “The Government has set the challenge on the economy, and it is clear our businesses are willing to meet it. It is up to politicians, therefore, to overcome stagnation and move the process forward.
“The Government is determined to make Northern Ireland pay its way, but we know many people in Northern Ireland simply cannot afford it. Rather than stomping our feet like spoiled children, it is up to us as political leaders to deliver an economic package that increases our prosperity so that people do not have to risk their homes, jobs and livelihoods simply to pay rates.
“People across Northern Ireland remain extremely concerned about how they are going to be able to afford rates hikes, water charges, and rising stealth taxes. We are concerned that they are only paying them in order for £1 billion every year to be wasted on segregating our public services – from education, to leisure, to health. We are the only party which has put forward proposals to abolish that £1 billion waste, and return the money to the people through realistic rates, no water charges, and more focus on developing local business and investment.
“To do this, we have put together a proposal presented to the Governments for an all-party roundtable on the economy – an addition to the political process, not a substitution of it. We need a clear economic package to encourage business and investment, alongside a functioning legislative Assembly with local ministers who can be held responsible for implementing it.
“If, by this time next year, people are still facing the prospect of massive rates hikes without any sign of economic or political progress, it will be a clear sign that the Sectarian Political System has failed them, and must be abandoned.”