Anna Lo said: “Its time that the Berlin Wall of segregation in Northern Ireland was knocked down for good. Segregation affects local people’s standard of living and is seriously damaging our economy.
“Nowhere else in the UK is their such a strain on limited public money as in Northern Ireland. Nowhere else in the UK does the government provide two separate sets of services so that people remain segregated.
“We waste one billion pounds every year on segregation. This hits local taxpayers very hard and it and I am sure they will be shocked by this figure.
“Segregation institutionalizes sectarianism and reinforces prejudice. If we had one integrated school in a town instead of two segregated ones, we could save vast amounts of money and reinvest the cash saved into other key services.”