Dickson says Chancellor’s statement shows need for Executive to strike strategic budget

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has said today’s Comprehensive Spending Review by the Chancellor increases the need for more strategic thinking by the Executive.

Speaking after George Osborne’s announcement in the House of Commons today (Wednesday), the East Antrim MLA said it was a “softer blow than expected” for Northern Ireland.

“It is certainly welcome the tax credit issue being addressed in Westminster itself, as it would have had a disproportionate impact on Northern Ireland.

“However, the block grant is going to fall by a significant amount in real terms over the next five years. It must be further borne in mind the Executive will have other budgetary commitments through mitigating other aspects of welfare reform and funding a lower level of corporation tax.

“All of this reinforces the need for politicians to avoid making populist commitments but instead adopting a strategic approach to local budget setting, including an objective assessment of priorities, consideration of fair, progressive forms of revenue-raising and tackling the costs of a divided society.”

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