David Ford MLA said: “Put simply, the budget agreed between the DUP and Sinn Fein doesn’t make sense. At a time when we desperately need to shift towards long-term, sustainable financial planning, this budget will do nothing to move us in that direction. Alliance has consistently highlighted the long-term mismanagement of our finances by the DUP and Sinn Fein, and urged them to start acting strategically. They have consistently chosen to disregard our proposals, and once again have cobbled together a budget that will do nothing to move us away from the massive inefficiencies that are impacting every day on frontline public services.
“They remained determined to force through a two-party deal, disregarding the views of the other parties. They have consistently refused to consider any of the measures that Alliance have proposed to put public sector finances on a more sustainable footing.
“Their budget says nothing about tackling the costs of division; nothing about directing education protections into schools and away from administration; and nothing about support for reforms to legal aid that will be necessary to make the budget balance. Meanwhile, it protects DUP and Sinn Fein pet projects like the Social Investment Fund and the relocation of DARD. It’s a one year budget that will leave us in exactly the same position next year. They are intent on jumping from disaster to disaster, providing no long term certainty for business, community, voluntary or statutory organisations. Individuals and organisations need certainty to plan and shape their future.
“Alliance has a different set of principles and a different set of policies, that would not only address some of the immediate pressures but would have mitigated against the need for such swinging cuts in the first place.”