Any new money for Northern Ireland must be used to drive transformation, says Farry

Alliance Economy spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said any new money for Northern Ireland must be used to drive transformation rather than pushing difficult decisions down the line.

Dr Farry was speaking after Chancellor Philip Hammond allocated an extra £660 million to Northern Ireland in his Budget, as well as a consultation on a city deal for Belfast.

“While any fiscal relaxation and increased spending UK-wide is welcome, we should also take note of the downward movement on many economic indicators such as the forecast of growth. In this Brexit era, the UK economy is increasingly underperforming,” he said.

“For Northern Ireland, the increased public spending is obviously welcome. This is the product of increased Barnett Consequentials arising from increased spending for England and while it may avoid real term drops in the size of the block grant in coming years, we should be under no illusion at the state of Northern Ireland’s messy and unsustainable public finances.

“In the absence of reform, Northern Ireland’s costs are spiralling out of control and any new money must be carefully invested to drive transformation rather than simply plugging short-term gaps and pushing difficult decisions further down the road.”

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