Monitoring Round is missed opportunity claims Alliance

Alliance Party Finance Spokesperson, Dr Stephen Farry MLA, has slammed the June Monitoring round from the Northern Ireland Executive for being particularly unimaginative and missing the opportunity to invest the Barnett Consequentials arising out of the April UK Budget in the green economy.

Stephen Farry MLA stated: “This monitoring round is a huge wasted opportunity. The Executive has opted out of taking bold decisions to further assist our economy, and have instead taken a most unimaginative and conservative approach to public finances.

“While the June Monitoring rounds are traditionally limited, this year the Executive has had the opportunity to make a real difference. Arising out of the April UK Budget, significant Barnett consequentials of at least £50m have become available to the Executive as our share from increases in spending in Great Britain.

“I fully respect the right of our Executive to make its own decisions with this money, but clear lessons should be learnt from why these funds where created by the UK Government. They represent the tail end of Government’s response to the economic downturn, and arise from increased investment in energy efficiency, renewable energy and social housing.

“It is remarkable how few bids are coming forward from Departments to address the economic downturn as opposed to plugging holes in their existing budgets.”

“Using the additional funds to offset the additional efficiency savings now asked of Northern Ireland may balance the books in the short-term. However it ducks the question of whether we need to be doing more to address the economic downturn and to re-balance our economy and whether efficiency savings could be better found elsewhere for example beginning in addressing the costs of division. The Executive seem to have disregarded the recent proposals from the action group on the green economy, representing business organisations such as the CBI and the Institute of Directors in addition to environmental groups.”


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