Naomi Long stated: “At a time when rate payers are coming under increasing pressure, the Secretary of State is just throwing bad money into trying to create an illusion of progress. Having said MLAs should get on with the job, he is now rewarding parties for not doing so! This is a very expensive illusion for those struggling with rates rises and water charges.
“Special Advisers are being allocated to parties without them having indicated they would accept ministerial positions, and without them having any electoral guarantee. This is a blatant attempt by the Government not just to prejudge the election, but to influence it.
“If the Government persists with rewarding the problem parties which have delivered nothing but stalemate, it will continue to undermine confidence in a process which is surely bound for more stalemate.”