Executive must take lead in challenging cuts
Sinn Féin MLA and Executive Minister Conor Murphy has stated that the Executive should now prepare a united approach to fighting the punitive cuts being brought forward by the British government. This follows today’s Executive meeting which dealt mainly with the Comprehensive Spending Review and the affect it will have on the local economy.
Speaking earlier Mr Murphy said:
“Today’s meeting was realistic and dealt with the issues at hand.
“We put it to our Executive colleagues that there needs to be consensus when fighting these cuts. We were elected to do this and represent the citizens of the North, to deliver for them and not to acquiesce to what the British government has proposed. This would be failing our electorate gravely.
“The Tory government, though Owen Patterson, has said that they received an endorsement for their platform of cuts from the electorate and that people knew what they were voting for.
“Let us be clear. That mandate was rejected whole-heartedly at the last election in the North of Ireland with not one conservative candidate being elected. We said no then to cuts then and we are saying no now.
“We have laid out measures to grow the economy based around what was promised from the Gordon Brown. Owen Patterson stated he would honour this agreement yet £4bn has been removed from this package.
“This is a disaster for the local economy, especially the construction industry. There is no fairness in devastating one of the main sectors of the northern economy, as there is no fairness in attacking the most vulnerable in society through attacks on pensions, benefits and low-income families.
“Coming from this we need to see the political parties sitting down, bringing proposals to the table to work out a clear strategy on the best way forward.
“Sinn Féin have already released our document and there has been positive acceptance of it containing viable and workable economic proposals. Let debate these and lets have the other parties bring forward similar proposals. The initiative lies with us all here.
“The Assembly has already been recalled to debate the economic crisis and as an Executive we must follow suit. Today is the start of that process. We need to accelerate our efforts and work towards safeguarding and providing jobs in the immediate future and putting in place economic stimulants for future growth.”