Alliance Party Leader David Ford has challenged the Secretary of State to fulfill government commitments through publishing the first of the Shared Future Action Plans.
David Ford said: “It is now almost ten months since the Government published their framework document for a shared future. While this document was strong on vision, values and principles, it was very light on policy specifics. At the time, the Government did make a firm commitment to Alliance and also in the House of Commons, to publish the first of a series of Shared Future Action Plans in the autumn of 2005.”
We are now entering 2005, and this most important plan is well overdue.
Government ministers have been freely using the concept of a shared future in speeches and press releases over the past year, but have failed to actually deliver any substance. Rhetoric without substance is merely empty platitudes.
There is considerable public demand for the provision of mixed housing, integrated education, and shared communities. Furthermore, the costs of managing a divided society amount to around £1 billion every year — which is a substantial drag on the public purse at the expense of better public services.
There are a wide range of changes to existing policies and practices that the Government ought to make. Alliance has already submitted a detailed document to Government outlining what these are.
It is now high time that the Government delivered on their commitments if their rhetoric on a shared future is to have any credibility.