19/02/2024

SDLP Calls For End To The Uncertainty Over Public Finances

The SDLP has called on Ministers to put an end to the uncertainty over public finances at the first substantive meeting of the Executive.

Stormont's Leader of the Opposition, MLA Matthew O'Toole, said that Ministers must set out a timeframe for public sector pay awards, a plan for rescuing public services and a clear indication of the position on revenue raising, particularly where it would impose additional financial burdens on households.
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Mr O'Toole said: "Just ten days into a new Executive and there has been confusion and contradiction over basic things that people rightly expected the Executive to have nailed down weeks ago. We need Ministers to indicate when public sector pay awards will be made, what the plan is for rescuing public services and what exactly they are considering regarding revenue raising.

"It would be unacceptable for ordinary, hard pressed families to have to face upfront new charges while services remain in chaos but if there are plans to increase revenue to pay for service improvement, Minsters should have the integrity to be honest about it, explain what they are and come clean with the public.

"No one should be in any doubt about the bad faith of the austerity obsessed Tory Government and the Executive is right to press them for greater funding. But there are serious questions about why Executive parties took Tory Ministers on trust in the first place. That was naive at best and it will be ordinary people that pay the price.

"The Executive parties must use their meeting today to get a grip on what they are actually asking of the public who put them in office."


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