Alliance MLA Trevor Lunn has labelled the decision of the Executive to give millions of pounds to United Airlines to keep the Belfast to Newark air route without scrutiny as “madness”.
Lagan Valley MLA Mr Lunn was speaking after a meeting of the Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee today (Wednesday), in which it was revealed the Executive had rushed through approval for the £9 million aid deal, £6 million of which will come from the Department for the Economy. The Committee also heard concerns about the value for money of the transaction had been expressed by the Department’s Permanent Secretary.
“This move by the Executive is an act of madness,” said Mr Lunn.
“For the Department to consent to giving millions of pounds to United Airlines each year in the absence of any detailed business case is breath-taking, particularly when it appears to have disregarded the concerns of the Permanent Secretary.
“There remains no guarantee United will even stay beyond those three years. The Executive has effectively promised this money without any proper scrutiny in place and questions need asked.”