Stephen Farry stated: “This statement could have major implications for Northern Ireland, in particular the level of cuts to the Block Grant that could be expected in future years.
“Clearly, there is a major issue regarding the level of national debt that has been built up from the bailout of the banks and other measures taken to stimulate the economy during the deepest recession in decades. It is worth noting that the UK is the slowest of all of the G8 economies to come out of recession. There is a risk that if public spending bares all the pressure of reducing debt that the UK as a whole and places such as Northern Ireland with a disproportionate dependency on public expenditure could tumble back into recession.
“The management of debt is an intrinsic part of a modern economy. The government has a number of options to put into its strategy in addition to spending cuts, including as selective tax rises and specific measures to stimulate economic growth with a rise in tax revenue.
“While there are grounds for being critical of the size, timing and content of the UK fiscal stimulus for dealing with the recession especially in comparison to other programmes internationally, at least the government did act.
“It is notable that the Conservatives have called it wrong on the recession throughout. They opposed measures to tackle the recession, to restore growth and to facilitate new jobs. Now today, they are determined to have deep cuts in public spending and to jeopardise the economic recovery, particularly in places such as Northern Ireland.”