Belfast Telegraph

Stormont is in need of reform, says UUP leader

By Rebecca Black

Devolved government in Northern Ireland is destined to collapse again unless there is fundamental reform, the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party has said.

Steve Aiken's warning comes as parties prepare to re-enter political talks after the General Election on December 12 with the aim of agreeing a restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

However, Mr Aiken said Stormont is doomed to fall again unless there is reform.

"Without fundamental reform, Northern Ireland's Executive and Stormont will be incapable of surviving for more than a couple of months before we have another massive crisis," he said.

"This was all caused by a renewable heating scheme, other parties want to see things like corporation tax devolved back to Northern Ireland - we can't even run a heating scheme, we can't even make sure our public service workers are paid the same as the rest in the United Kingdom.

"Yet with all the layers of bureaucracy we have, we are not capable of managing ourselves effectively.

"There has to be fundamental reform, and unless political parties can realise that, we are on to a hiding to nothing.

"We will have another set of elections, we'll come back the way we were, we will have the same institutional problems, we need to sort that out.

"We need to sort that out, we can't keep going the way we are."

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