Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Alliance pledges Stormont reform

Alliance Party leader David Ford launches his party's manifesto at the Park Avenue Hotel in Belfast

Northern Ireland can witness an economic revolution if the Stormont administration is restructured to prioritise growth, the Alliance Party pledged.

Creating a single department of the economy to deal with policy issues currently shared among ministers and introducing a major cut in corporation tax, potentially even lower than the Republic of Ireland's, can deliver tangible recovery, leader David Ford insisted.

Launching his party's election manifesto in east Belfast, Mr Ford also reiterated his view that water charges were needed and that parties claiming otherwise were making promises they could not keep.

Stormont's Justice Minister said a failure to charge for vital investment in the water system meant crucial funds were being diverted from health and education.

Mr Ford said his party was confident of gaining an extra seat at the Executive in the next term, increasing its potential to make a difference.

"This is not a manifesto of changes that we want others to deliver. It's a manifesto of changes that we want to deliver," he told party supporters at the Park Avenue Hotel.

His party's economy spokesman Stephen Farry said the Alliance Party would take on the challenging health portfolio if the opportunity arose during the allocation of ministries through the D'Hondt process.

"We genuinely want to make a difference in health," he said.

"If it was there we would absolutely and definitely take it as a department."

Mr Ford said the party's manifesto was the "most comprehensive and ambitious" ever presented by a political party in Northern Ireland.

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