United voice needed to challenge British government austerity agenda - Kearney
Sinn Féin national chairperson Declan Kearney has said all political parties and wider civic society must speak with one voice to challenge the British government austerity agenda.
Mr Kearney said;
"The growing austerity crisis will inevitably push the political process into a profound and potentially long-term crisis unless urgent solutions are applied very quickly.
"The emergent political crisis can be averted – but, for that to happen, a change in British Government policy is now essential. That means the austerity agenda aimed at the North must be stopped.
"George Osborne’s intention to cut £25billion from the budget for the period 2015-2018 – and the recent declaration of £3billion in public expenditure cuts this year – means that an estimated £800million will be lost to the local economy between now and 2018.
"This, combined with the actual net cut of £1.5billion already cut from the Block Grant – translates into an overall loss to the Six Counties economy of approximately £2.3billion, and largely within the 2014 to 2018 period.
If the proposed British Exchequer plans are implemented, even greater systemic and perhaps irreversible damage will be caused to the local economy.
"A new negotiation is required with the British Government on what this must mean to move forward in the North.
"Support for such an approach should be mobilised within the business sector, trades union movement, the churches, and right across civic society.
"Going backwards is not an option. That will happen however, unless the austerity onslaught is stopped, and the political institutions and power-sharing are stabilised and energised with a sustainable economic and fiscal framework."