Farry proposes finance amendments to Northern Ireland Interim Arrangements Bill

Alliance MP Stephen Farry has proposed a number of amendments to the Northern Ireland Interim Arrangements Bill, which is scheduled to complete in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Stephen Farry Budget Cost of Division

The proposed amendments cover a range of issues, including an invest to save financial package for Northern Ireland, an updated report into the costs of a divided society and a needs-based review of the Barnett Formula.

“The Budget crisis is the biggest issue facing Northern Ireland and is the main area where we are experiencing a democratic deficit,” said the North Down MP.

“Alliance will be using Wednesday’s debate to raise the budget crisis and highlight a number of ways in which we can make our public finances much more sustainable. It is utterly disingenuous for anyone to claim the absence of an Executive doesn’t make a difference to how this crisis can be handled.

“As things stand, we are facing a spiral of cuts that damage public services and undermines our economy. We need to break this cycle. Alliance has put forward a number of amendments to help stabilise and then transform our public finances. 

“The key step is an invest to save package to be negotiated with the Treasury. Most people recognise we need to transform our public services. But there is no space to do so from a burning platform. We recognise any such financial assistance would be heavily conditional. If a business no longer had a workable business model they would have to restructure and would often seek financial assistance to do so. We have already presented proposals to Government on this.

“We are also seeking the commissioning of an updated report on the financial cost of managing a divided society and associated distortions. Scarce resources could be much better invested in improved and shared public services for all.  

“Finally, we take note of the work of the NI Fiscal Commission and how the value of the Barnett Formula is diverging from the relative needs of this region. Much more detailed work needs to be undertaken in this area.”


Amendments are available here.