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Northern Ireland's finances not sustainable, says Farry

Northern Ireland's latest Budget is "a series of quick fixes used to plug holes in a sinking boat," Alliance Finance spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said.

Dr Farry was speaking as Secretary of State Karen Bradley unveiled Stormont's 2019-20 Budget. He said without Executive Ministers to take decisions, an "unsustainable spending pattern" will continue.

"This is yet another stop-gap Budget delivered via the NIO in liaison with local civil servants. A series of quick fixes such as raiding capital budgets are used to plug holes in a sinking boat. But even with this dexterity there will be cuts flowing from these financial plans.

"But without Ministers who can take policy decisions and drive reforms, we will continue with an unsustainable spending pattern, with inefficiencies tolerated and public services eroding, and opportunities to improve our economy and society passed up.

"Northern Ireland's public finances are in a mess. We are a long way from a strategic multi-year budget linked to a Programme for Government and clear economic, social and environmental plans.

"Past periods of devolution has failed to deliver sufficient reforms including tackling the costs of managing a divided society. Yet, local shared Government remains the only viable means to govern this region. A restored but reformed Executive must be an imperative."