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Muir calls for Cost of Division to be top priority for Fiscal Council

Alliance Finance Spokesperson Andrew Muir MLA has welcomed the establishment of a Fiscal Council for Northern Ireland with a Fiscal Commission also to commence specific programme of work.

The Fiscal Council was announced recently by the Finance Minister will be a permanent, independent body charged with bringing transparency and scrutiny to the Executive Finances.

Mr Muir said “I have been calling for the Fiscal Council to be brought forward, a commitment within New Decade New Approach, for well over a year.  I am pleased that at long last it has formally been announced.

“Following this Ministerial Statement, it is important that MLA’s have the chance to scrutinise the details.  The Fiscal Council’s independence, and its relationship with the Assembly, will be crucial as to whether it is an effective body or not. There should be no ‘no go areas’ with fully independent scrutiny if Stormont is ever to regain people's confidence in managing their money.

“The Cost of Division should be top of the list on the Fiscal Council’s agenda and not forgotten as Fiscal Commission also undertakes its work. There’s plenty of issues for the Fiscal Commission to look at with Alliance planning to engage fully in its deliberations. In Northern Ireland we waste over £500m per year on a divided society.  Tackling sectarianism head on and building a shared future is an essential part of restoring public finances."