Alliance responds to flawed Budget

Alliance Party Finance Spokesperson, Dr Stephen Farry MLA, has responded to today’s announcement of the Executive’s Budget for 2008-2011 by Finance Minister Peter Robinson by stressing that the proposals remain flawed in a number of key areas.

Dr Stephen Farry MLA stated: “This Budget continues to have three main structural weaknesses.

“First, there is neither any serious attempt to obtain efficiency savings from tackling the costs of a divided society, nor any fresh investment in facilitating a shared future.

“Second, it does not re-balance the economy. It is more of a recipe for creating a low-tax society rather than growing the economy. There is only a questionable investment against the four basic drivers of the economy that lie within the control of the Executive, but there is no recipe for generating a step-change in the local economy and closing the productivity gap with the rest of the UK. The running down of revenue through zero increases in the regional rate, subsiding water charges, and not tackling industrial de-rating is regressive, and arguably threatens the critical parity principle on tax and benefits at a UK-wide level.

“Third, it does not assist with creating better and sustainable public services. While there seems to have been some degree of compromise with the Michael McGimpsey and Margaret Ritchie, major funding problems remain in wide a range of critical areas, including not only health and housing, but public transport and the arts.

“Alliance will giving this budget rigorous scrutiny as it passes its various stages from proposals into law.”


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