Tight CSR means NI Executive must tackle costs of segregation

Alliance Party Finance Spokesperson, Stephen Farry, has responded to the announcement of the results of the UK Comprehensive Spending Review today by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, by stressing that in the context of relatively few additional resources for Northern Ireland, the Executive must face up to addressing the costs of division that are distorting a large chuck of public expenditure in Northern Ireland.

The budgetary rises in actual terms for the devolved regions for the next financial year are as follows: Scotland 4.53%, Wales 4.54%, NIO 5.1%, and NI Bloc Grant 4.3%. The average increase for Northern Ireland as a whole taking into account both the NIO and Bloc Grant is 4.4%

Dr Stephen Farry stated:

“As was expected, this is a tight spending round for the Northern Ireland Executive. There has been no additional peace package.

“The overall percentage rise for Northern Ireland is 4.4% in actual terms. While at first glance, this looks encouraging, but once inflation is taken into account, it is barely 2% in terms of real growth, barely in line with the overall level of economic growth in the UK economy as a whole

“Furthermore, it is notable that the percentage increases for Northern Ireland are lower than the devolved regions of Scotland and Wales. In particular, it must be noted that there are considerable increases of around 6% in health and education spending in England for each of the next three years.

“There are many aspects of public services in Northern Ireland that require fresh investment. Further measures are required to create incentives for local economy growth.

“In this context, it is very disappointing that the Executive has failed to address the conclusions of the Deloitte Report into the Costs of Division that was commissioned by OFMDFM. This report suggests that as much as £1.5bn in public expenditure is distorted by violence and segregation.

“If the Executive does not seriously address these issues, it risks missing a major opportunity to reinvest scarce funds for the benefit of the whole community.”


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