David Ford MLA said: “I welcome the fact that today’s discussion took place, although I hold to the view that it should have happened a fortnight ago. I also welcome the fact that there was some meaningful engagement over the financial issues facing the Executive this year. Decisions weren’t taken today, but Ministers committed to coming back on Thursday and reaching agreement on how we manage the budget for the remainder of this year.
“Thursday will be a test of whether those commitments are honoured. Indeed, it will be a test of Ministers’ ability to do the job that voters have given them. We simply cannot afford to put off decisions any longer.
“And we must then use any agreement on this year’s budget to give us momentum to deal with the budget for next year, and other decisions to get our finances back under control in the years ahead. Those decisions will be tough, but they are essential if the Executive is to show itself capable of running Northern Ireland.”