Budget a reality check for local political process, says Farry

Alliance Economy spokesperson Stephen Farry has said today’s Budget should be a “further reality check” for the political process here.

Dr Farry was speaking after Chancellor Philip Hammond unveiled the details of the Budget, which will see the Executive receive a small amount of additional funding.

“Today’s Budget should be a further reality check for the political process in Northern Ireland. While Alliance is sceptical about some of the Chancellor’s agenda, new spending and policy announcements are being made, which is in stark contrast to the stagnation here,” he said.

“While the additional Barnett Consequentials will help to manage some of the financial uncertainty arising from no local Budget, Northern Ireland at best is set for a year of just getting by, but without the opportunity to engage in the similar type of reforms and additional investments being made in other jurisdictions. In particular, we should note the further investments in skills and training, in social care and in infrastructure.

“Alliance urges caution around any sense of self-congratulation around the economic figures. These figures do not reflect the impact of the actual departure of the UK from the EU, which will see a major readjustment to the GDP baseline, and they also do not take into consideration the disproportionate impact of Brexit economically and financially on Northern Ireland, given our level of dependence on European markets, the integrated supply-chains on the island, and the mobility of labour.

“A budget for the UK as a whole brings into further sharp relief the absence of a proper Budget for Northern Ireland for the next financial year – something that begins in just over three weeks.”

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