UK Government Budget absolutely brutal, say Muir

The UK Government’s Budget for Northern Ireland is “absolutely brutal” and will cause significant damage to our economy, Alliance Finance spokesperson Andrew Muir MLA has said.

Andrew Muir Finance Budget

Mr Muir was speaking after Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris revealed the funding allocations for Executive Departments for the next financial year.

“This is an absolutely brutal budget for Northern Ireland, which will bring significant damage to our public services and our ability to develop our economy,” said the North Down MLA.

“The inevitable deep cuts we will now see will not be easily reversed and cause irreparable harm. Policies and programmes focusing on prevention and early intervention are particularly under threat. This simply stores up even greater challenges in the future.

“While most Departments may roughly be similar to last year in cash terms, this does not account for inflationary and pay pressures or other inescapable requirements.

“Alliance is conscious we have a burning platform here. Northern Ireland needs stability and the space to conduct transformation of public services and to invest in key economic drivers. That’s why we have presented proposals to the UK Government for a transformation fund on an invest to save basis. We appreciate this would need a clear strategic plan from an incoming Executive and be heavily conditional but we must break this vicious circle.

“The Budget crisis also coincides with a governance crisis. We urgently need a devolved Executive to effectively manage this situation. Without that, civil servants are in an untenable situation of being forced to make what are highly political decisions around the allocation of scarce resources. In the absence of an Executive, the Government must address this gap.”