New approach to public finances needed: Lyons

DUP East Antrim MLA and Finance spokesman Gordon Lyons has said there needs to be a new approach to public finances in Northern Ireland and warned that the restoration of Stormont will not remove our budget pressures.

By Gordon Lyons MLA

East Antrim

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Mr Lyons said,

“There is a myth being peddled that the restoration of devolution would remove all the financial problems in our schools and hospitals. Those peddling this falsehood do a disservice to devolved government and the efforts to have Stormont re-established.

We all want to see devolution restored but it must have a solid foundation if it is to be stable. That means an honest assessment of the funding model for our public services and the urgent need for properly funded reform throughout our government Departments.

The Treasury contribution to fund public services in Northern Ireland is going down rather than rising. As an example, in England up to 2025, spending will increase by 6% but only 3.6% in Northern Ireland.

The cost of providing public services for a region of our size is more expensive than Great Britain. We don’t benefit from economies of scale or critical mass. To provide vital services, we need a disproportionately larger public service, and for as long as we receive 3% of what England needs under the Barnett formula, we won’t and don’t get enough.”

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