The East Belfast MP said,
“The overspend in the last financial year across all our key public services was not as a result of significant wasteful spending but simply because the baseline funding received from Treasury is not sufficient to meet the Government’s own definition of need. When the budget is not sufficient then public sector pay awards will be one of the first areas where this becomes visible.
There will be no long-term solution to this problem without addressing that chronic underfunding of public services here. Political will cannot overcome an ever worsening budget position where the shortfall is projected to increase year-on-year. Without action, the problems we face now are only the tip of the iceberg.
The DUP has been highlighting this problem consistently over recent months. It is neither fair nor sustainable for Northern Ireland to be funded below need, particularly when we have seen action taken in other UK regions to ensure funding is delivered fairly and to meet objective need.
We will continue to press this in our discussions with the Government, to ensure those working across key public services are properly paid both now and in the future.”