Kieran McCarthy MLA said: “I share the sentiments of the Sinn Fein MLAs who have proposed this debate but I believe their Ministers could be doing more to protect frontline services. The Agriculture Minister has said that she is continuing with the proposal to move her headquarters from East Belfast to Ballykelly, despite the large cost and negative impact on key services and programmes. This is money that could be better spent within her Department.
“While the delays caused by Sinn Fein and the SDLP in agreeing welfare reform will have cost us over £150million by the time we implement the new system – money that could have been spent on protecting the most vulnerable in our society.
“In the Department of Education, Alliance believes that the Minister should be doing more to protect school budgets by making savings in his Department’s administration.”
Motion: Protecting Core Public Services
‘That this Assembly commends the Executive parties on presenting a unified approach in highlighting the drastic reduction in the block grant and the consequent effect that this has on the Executive’s ability to defend public services; calls on the British government to recognise the unique challenges which we face as a society emerging from conflict with higher levels of socioeconomic deprivation; and further calls on the Executive to maintain its protection of core public services, in particular health, welfare, and education.’