Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Budget increases welcome but fail to address core funding problem

13 January, 2004

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson, former chairperson of the Assembly Finance and Personnel Committee Mid-Ulster MLA Francie Molloy has welcomed the increases announced in today's Budget but added that the core issue of overall expenditure has not been addressed.

Cllr Molloy said:

"Any increases in expenditure must be welcomed particularly within the agreed priorities of Health, Education and infrastructure. However these increases cannot hide the fact that the funding deficit has not been addressed. The architect of the Barnett formula has recently highlighted the weakness and unfairness of the way in which our overall Budget is worked out. These increases do not take account of the levels of need that exist here, they do nothing to address the legacy of decades of under investment.

"Sinn Féin will be raising the issues of the accumulated funding deficit, the legacy of underfunding, the unfairness of Barnett formula and the need to realise a genuine Peace Dividend in the review of the Good Friday Agreement starting at the end of January.

"The failure to deliver a genuine Peace Dividend and the refusal to address the core issue of funding seriously undermine the ability of any future Executive to deliver real change.

"We need to see significant investment right across our public services and infrastructure. Forcing local people to pay for decades of underinvestment is not the solution.

"I would also have deep reservation about the way in which NIO Ministers are basing increased funding on large rates increases. This will create immediate and long-term difficulties for people, particularly those on low incomes. It is a disgrace that a supposedly socialist government should rely on this form of regressive taxation to raise revenue"ENDS

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