Stephen Farry MLA said: “The politics around the Budget timetable is not in the interests of our public services, our economy and the community as a whole.
“There is a legal timetable under which the Budget must be put in place. If there are significant delays due to Ministers and the Executive, then this will come at the expense of the process of consultation and the opportunity for scrutiny.
“These steps are key parts of the democratic process, and if they are compromised, then the overall integrity of the final budget decisions will not be as robust as possible.
“It is critical that the Executive gets its act together. Already, we have had experience of rushed budgets. Indeed, the adjustments to this year’s budget were not even agreed until after the start of the financial year.
“Forward planning for any budget is vital, especially at times of real pressure. Advanced planning will maximise the potential for efficiency and maximise the resources available for frontline public services and to rebalance the economy. It is both reasonable and sensible for our MPs and Executive can continue to fight for a fairer deal for Northern Ireland in Westminster while preparing to cope with final decisions at the same time.”