Judith Cochrane MLA said: “I would like to congratulate Simon on his appointment as Finance Minister. He has a challenging portfolio with several important tasks ahead of him, including the long awaited devolution of corporation tax.
“However, one of the biggest challenges that he must tackle is the cost of division. It is estimated that it costs £1 billion to manage our divided society and with continued financial pressures imposed by Treasury, this is an expense that we cannot sustain.
“I am sure the new Minister will be keen to demonstrate his ability to work with other Departments in delivering on Programme for Government commitments and therefore it is essential that he tackles any distortions in allocation of public resources due to division.
“Mr Hamilton must acknowledge the financial implications of division in Northern Ireland, and commit to addressing it. The savings could then be redirected into tackling disadvantage and rebalancing the local economy.”