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SDLP urges an alternative to draft Budget

The SDLP has called for “major improvements” to the proposed Budget for Northern Ireland, as the Assembly gears up for its first debate on the cuts.

Finance spokesman Declan O'Loan said the draft Budget as presented by Sammy Wilson in December largely hands on the severe cuts imposed by the Treasury.

Mr O'Loan said: “Funds provided to the Executive were cut by 40% on the capital side and 8% on the revenue side, and little new money is added by Sammy Wilson. The result is a budget that cuts departmental spending by amounts ranging up to 21%.

“There is an alternative. The SDLP document ‘Partnership and Economic Recovery’ outlines in carefully costed detail how savings can be made and fresh revenue and capital generated which can more than match the Treasury cuts.

“The surplus can be used for economic growth — for business, training, construction, tourism, energy — and to cushion vulnerable sections of the community against the worst effects of benefit cuts.”

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