Anna Lo MLA said: “By reinstating the premia payments, there will be less money for other critical areas of the economy when we know that we already have too many teachers and we should be concentrating on improving the skills landscape ahead of the devolution of corporation tax. It has undermined the Executive’s stated aim that the economy is their number one priority.
“The Executive’s decision was not in the best interests of our young people, as we will now force 350 students to study outside of Northern Ireland or not at all, as the Minister is forced to make deeper cuts to Higher Education.
“We are deluding the large number of teachers that we are training as there are not enough permanent teacher positions for them to fill. We are continuing to artificially inflate an already unsustainable system.
“This decision also raises serious questions over the Executive’s commitment to a shared future and tackling the cost of division. In December, the Executive parties went to David Cameron asking for money to tackle the duplication of services in our society, yet at the very first test, the Executive has chosen the continuation of such services.”