Here are excerpts from Chris Lyttle’s speech (subject to change on delivery): “The UK, Irish, Scottish and Welsh governments have all produced programmes and the Executive must show that it has a vision and plan for the community.
“The mandatory nature of our coalition government makes this a more complicated task, however, the people who voted us into this Assembly demand that we deliver solutions to the economic and social challenges we face. Those challenges are clear and stark.
“There is a need to attract investment and encourage indigenous enterprise, in particular export led, in order to grow a dynamic high value, knowledge-based economy that will create employment, opportunities and growth.
“The biggest challenge for this community, however, remains the human and financial cost of division. Other programmes for government speak of ‘era-changing, convention-challenging, radical reform’ and of ‘government guided by the needs of the many rather than the greed of the few’.
“In a context of budgetary restrictions that are affecting health, education, public transport and other frontline services, addressing an estimated £1b per year wasted on managing a divided society is a moral and financial imperative. For economic recovery and social inclusion tackling the cost of division must be more than just rhetoric and it must be a genuine priority of any new PfG.
“I believe the vision of the programme for government for Northern Ireland should be threefold. For a shared society; for a dynamic economy and efficient public services; and for sustainability.
“If the Executive can agree a clear vision, clear priorities and a partnership approach between the public, private and third sector for the programme for government, then I believe it is possible to demonstrate that devolution can deliver.”