She was responding to a letter from the Head of Northern Ireland Civil Service, Malcolm McKibbin, which indicates that the Northern Ireland budget is due to go into the red by the end of the financial year, unless an agreement is reached.
Mrs Long said: “Unless we resolve the current financial impasse, the British Government will step in and start making decisions about our budget. Our financial situation is only going to get worse, so we must get a grip on this problem.
“We have a set budget that is given to us by Westminster – we must live within our means and cannot continue to spend money which we do not have.
“The Executive must use the belated budget meeting next week to make decisions about our spending priorities. If we don’t make these decisions then I am sure that when Westminster steps in, they will be more interested in balancing the books than acting in Northern Ireland’s interests.”