NI needs sustainable finances

The DUP’s Lagan Valley MLA Emma Little Pengelly and Finance spokesman in the NI Assembly Gordon Lyons MLA has emphasised the need for Northern Ireland to be financed in a sustainable manner.

By Gordon Lyons MLA

East Antrim

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Mrs Little Pengelly said,

“Today we have been engaged with the Secretary of State and engaged with Government officials on the detail of his finance paper.

Public sector workers deserve fair pay therefore the Government must ensure Northern Ireland has the funding to pay workers and invest in services like health and education. At this moment the proposal does not go far enough.

It is welcome that all the main Northern Ireland parties are agreed on the need to place our finances on a more sustainable footing.

There will always be examples of where money could and should be better utilised, but no amount of feasible efficiency or revenue raising could fill the annual shortfall created by the Barnett squeeze.”

Mr Lyons said,

“It is positive that we are having this discussion. We are not new to this debate. Indeed, when we first raised the issue of a fiscal floor with Treasury, Philip Hammond was the Chancellor, yet despite our arguments and several independent reports, some within government were still arguing that Northern Ireland gets enough.

Regardless of when the NI Assembly returns, our allocation from Treasury cannot sit unaltered. Whilst this year we are underfunded by three hundred million, by 2025 that gap widens out to £1.2billion.

We need to get a solution with recurring funding which enables us to invest in our schools and hospitals as well as pay our public servants appropriately.”

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