Northern Executive Budget Crisis Looming

Amid news that only four Stormont Executive Departments have finalised their budgets, the Alliance Party has attacked Executive Ministers for failing to publish their respective spending plans.

Finance Spokesperson Stephen Farry said they are treating the people of Northern Ireland with contempt through denying a proper consultation on the Budget.

The fresh intervention came as the DUP Finance Minister Sammy Wilson also warned the planned budget consultation is being threatened.

Sammy Wilson said: "Despite the fact the information was supposed to be available before Christmas, only my own department, the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, the Department of Justice and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Industry have published those."

Today, Stephen Farry MLA, attacked the Executive Ministers who are continuing to fail in their duty to publish their spending plans.

"Adoption of the draft budget is perhaps the most important decision to be taken by this Assembly. It is important that people have the opportunity to have their say and attempt to influence outcome.

"We are now less than a month away from the end of the so-called public consultation, and still a considerable number of Departmental Spending Plans remain outstanding with others just trickling out.

"Indeed only three out of 12 departments were able to publish their plans within a timely manner.

"Already, the proper 12-week window for responses has been curtailed due to the political wrangling and delays within the Executive.

"There is a very tight timetable for the formal adoption of a Budget and the passage of the first Budget Bill before the start of the next financial year. Notions of extending this consultation period due to meet the slackness of certain departments are fanciful," he continued.

"At present, there is simply insufficient information published, particularly in relation to the big spending departments such as health and education.

"There is now no option other than for the remaining Ministers to publish their plans forthwith. Anything else is treating the people of Northern Ireland with contempt," the MLA fumed.


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