Stephen Farry MLA said: “We welcome fact that Sinn Féin has published this paper and we are more than happy to share ideas and have discussions around proposals. We are however bemused as to why Sinn Fein are leading on small, populist issues rather that examining big ticket, high cost areas.
“Sinn Féin also needs to be realistic and look at the areas where the greatest savings can be made, for example on the cost of division. Segregation is the elephant in the room at every Stormont Executive meeting. Only Alliance makes addressing this issue our top priority. The option of sharing services on as North-South basis must also be considered in order to deliver savings.
“We also need to tackle public sector inefficiency. There are also needs to be reform within the institutions of government. We must examine reducing the number of MLAs and government departments to deliver savings and create more joined-up government.
“With wages and salaries amounting to almost half of the Northern Ireland budget it is inevitable that costs in this area will have to be addressed. We all know that the banks played a massive role in creating this crisis but we now have to focus on solutions. Alliance wants trade unions to sit down with Executive Ministers and work out what is best way of protecting jobs and safeguarding vital services.
“Alliance is the only party that is being realistic about water changes. This is an issue of social justice issue and we believe that water charging has to be fair and based on a household’s ability to pay.
“Sinn Féin’s proposals are a positive contribution to the debate on cuts but they do need to examine the big beasts of public spending instead of simply addressing smaller, less controversial issues.”