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Stormont's budget blockers will drag us into past

Published 21/07/2015

I am writing this in response to a formal warning to the Northern Ireland Executive regarding the ongoing Budget crisis (News, July 17). I would like to express my anger at the Assembly's failure to implement the Stormont House Agreement.

As a result of the failure to implement the agreement, the Executive is losing approximately £2m a week, leaving a devastating £600m black hole in our local economy, affecting crucial public services, such as education and health.

It is extremely important that the £90m agreed for welfare reform is implemented, because it is crucial for those suffering in our communities.

When the Stormont House Agreement was initially agreed, the Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness described it as a "remarkable achievement, with the opportunity to give the Executive a fresh start".

I really do question the sudden change of heart to the legislation that he once upheld. We must ask the question: why are both Sinn Fein and the SDLP blocking this important legislation through a petition of concern? Is it down to propaganda purposes?

Both parties clearly state that they are "protecting the most vulnerable of society by blocking welfare reform". But the reality is that they are actually exploiting them.

Through the Barnett Formula, Northern Ireland receives one of the most deliverable, sustainable budgets in the UK.

If the Stormont House Agreement is not implemented urgently, it inevitably throws the future of the Northern Ireland Assembly into extreme uncertainty.

Failure to implement this legislation will lead to the collapse of the Assembly, the Executive, tourism, investment and the Good Friday Agreement.

We can't allow the Treasury to take back complete control over our finances. Can we really afford to step back in time?

CONCERNED TEENAGER

Fivemiletown, Co Fermanagh

Belfast Telegraph

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