Judith Cochrane MLA said: “This budget will do nothing to make our finances more sustainable. I fear that our financial problems will only be made worse by their refusal to make the tough decisions.
“This budget is being balanced on a 100% cuts basis – an approach that no other government would consider, and it won’t secure the long term economic future of Northern Ireland. Alliance has been highlighting the difficult decisions that need to be made but the DUP and Sinn Fein are not willing to be honest with the electorate.
“The Executive must give consideration to ending some of the inappropriate subsidies such as free prescription charges and free bus passes for those who have yet retired. Only by considering these options can we as a devolved administration show we are taking some real responsibility in managing the budgetary challenges.
“Northern Ireland is not the only region being adversely affected by austerity measures and the bottom line is that we need to up our game in terms of drawing up a balanced budget that delivers the best we can for the people of Northern Ireland.”