The money allocated to Northern Ireland under the UK Government’s Budget is nowhere near enough to drive a sustainable, green recovery for our economy, support households facing a massive rise in the cost of living or create the jobs and skills needed to navigate out of the pandemic, Alliance Finance spokesperson Andrew Muir MLA has said.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the allocation was the largest annual funding settlement devolved governments had seen but Finance Minister Conor Murphy said it would create significant challenges, an opinion echoed by North Down MLA Mr Muir.
“Northern Ireland is already missing out due to the removal of EU funding after Brexit, which has exacerbated the financial challenges facing us,” said Mr Muir.
“Therefore the financial package handed to the Executive by the UK Government is clearly not enough to cover a range of issues, including driving a green economic recovery, delivering a Green New Deal, supporting households in the face of rising energy costs or creating the jobs and skills to see us through the remainder of the pandemic.
“With the size of the cake Northern Ireland are receiving is reduced, we must be incredibly careful as to how we slice it. There is a real risk of inflation reducing entirely whatever real term increases there are, while a failure to enact much-needed reforms means the outcomes will be incredibly difficult for local people.
“Decisions need to be taken – some difficult and some not so. Tackling the cost of division, enacting the Bengoa health reforms and bringing wider public sector reforms would not only drive the change needed in our society, but provide the opportunity to ensure people in Northern Ireland are insulated from the worst of the forthcoming financial hardships.”