Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Delaying budget not an option: Sammy Wilson

Sammy Wilson

A number of Northern Ireland ministers are unwilling to address serious financial challenges, Sammy Wilson has claimed.

The DUP Finance Minister briefed the Assembly yesterday on the challenges ahead.

“I must take this opportunity to record my growing unease at what I would call the disconnect that was made evident by some ministers,” he said.

“There appears in some quarters to be an unwillingness to address the serious financial questions that are being posed.

“Let's be clear, we cannot dodge difficult decisions in formulating a new budget.

“Delaying the budget process until next spring is not an option.”

Sinn Fein Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy told the Assembly that the Government-owned company model for Northern Ireland Water (NIW) may be axed. Mr Murphy said the current model was at odds with its public service remit.

He added changing NIW's status would require extensive legislation but that he wanted it firmly within the public service. That would it involve it coming directly within his department. However, this will not occur before next year’s Assembly election.

Mr Wilson said the proposals would make the delivery of water services more expensive, rendering it harder to encourage private investment in infrastructure work.

Sinn Fein MLA Mitchel McLaughlin said: “Certainly, Sinn Fein are of the view that we should anticipate the probability that the British Government will attempt to introduce cuts, but we shouldn't simply surrender or offer ourselves meekly to implement those cuts.

“You cannot cut your way to recovery.”

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