Dickson says Alliance would have preferred delay on welfare vote

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has said his party reluctantly voted for Westminster to implement welfare changes but it would have preferred to delay the vote on the issue.

Mr Dickson, speaking during an Assembly sitting to discuss the matter today (Wednesday), said the ‘Fresh Start’ deal between the DUP and Sinn Fein was a sticking plaster solution which other parties had not been privy to until late in the process.

“This is not a fresh start or a comprehensive agreement. What we have is another crutch for us to limp down the road until the next crisis. We have not even had the chance to truly look at the document, which is a two-party deal in a four-party coalition.

“It would be better delaying this a week in the interests of good governance, to allow proper scrutiny of a document which is supposed to map out the future of Northern Ireland. Instead, we have been issued this document and told to sign it.

“One of the results is a decision which could and should be taken in the Assembly is now being abdicated to Westminster to reduce the collateral damage Sinn Fein could incur from making this deal. Just like their refusal to sit in Westminster, Sinn Fein MLAs appear to be placeholders, rather than actual public representatives.

“We must urgently fix the shambles that is our budget, that’s why we supported today’s motion. While we understand the concerns over the constitutional and institutional implications, there is no other option if we wish to start fixing our budget.

“This is not an endorsement of the deal but rather a demonstration that Alliance is committed to solving the welfare reform crisis and placing our future on a sound economic basis. However, I dismay over the fact it took us months to get here and in order to do so, this institution abandoned its responsibility to legislate.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *