Budget again highlights need for reform, says Muir

Andrew Muir Finance

Alliance Finance spokesperson Andrew Muir MLA has called for long-awaited reforms to be actioned, during a debate on Northern Ireland’s budget for this financial year.

Speaking during the Assembly debate, which saw Finance Minister Conor Murphy present the financial plans for the next year, Mr Muir described the budget process as “baffling” and it would make “no sense to members of the public”.

The North Down MLA criticised the UK Treasury for failing to deliver on the promise of multi-year budgets, while also highlighting the need to utilise powers held locally.

“Since becoming an MLA late in 2019, I have been deeply frustrated at the lack of action in tackling the major issues impacting ordinary people across our society. From the many heart-rendering stories I hear from my constituents, and from my own mum who spent decades working in the NHS, I know just how serious the problems in our health service are.

“In essence, we now have a two-tier health system in Northern Ireland. That is wrong, and goes against the fundamental principles behind the NHS.

“All politicians know what needs to be done. We need multi-year budgets, and the political will to introduce and implement reforms across the public sector, including saving over £800 million wasted on division. The repetitive, ineffective and overly complex budget process also needs reformed, a matter the newly established Fiscal Council should prioritise in their work over the time ahead.”