Dr Stephen Farry stated: “This budgetary framework will govern public expenditure in Northern Ireland over the next three years. As things stand, there is a real danger that this exercise could become a huge missed opportunity. The budget and programme for government are set to be little more than a tinkering with the status quo rather than a root and branch analysis of the problems and challenges facing Northern Ireland, and the identification of the appropriate policies and necessary resources to address them.
“For all the talk of efficiencies, Alliance is concerned that the Executive has not taken any action to tackle the imbedded distortions of public expenditure relating to the cost of segregation. It is a shame that the First Minister and Deputy First Minister have shelved the Deloitte report into this subject that their own office commissioned.
“The desire to prioritise economic development is appropriate, but it would be a mistake to set up an artificial choice between on the one hand pump-priming economic growth and on the other hand investing in improved public services. The two can and should go hand in hand.
“With the four Executive parties all signing up to the budget, it will fall to Alliance as the opposition party to provide an effective and constructive challenge.”
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