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Lewis out of step with growing anti-austerity opinion - Kearney

15 June, 2015

Sinn Féin national chairperson Declan Kearney has rejected a call from British Labour spokesperson on the North Ivan Lewis to support the British government's austerity agenda. 

Mr Kearney said; 

"Ivan Lewis' latest public comments on the austerity crisis and increased political instability facing the North are now virtually indistinguishable from the rhetoric of British Tory spokespersons. 

"He refuses to recognise that the austerity crisis in the North has been created by a net cut to the local block grant of £1.5 billion to date, and another estimated £800 million between now and 2018. That represents a continuous net loss of £2.3 billion to the regional economy, largely between 2014 and 2018. 

"Contrary to the Labour spokesperson's assertions, a viable budget cannot be formed on the basis of his advised acceptance of 'savage cuts.' His singular focus on the welfare impasse chooses to ignore that welfare cuts are a by-product of the austerity crisis, not the cause. 

"His support for the cuts is also out of step with a growing body of academic and economic opinion which rejects austerity as an option. 

"The North is a special case with special economic and social circumstances emerging from conflict. The Six Counties are not as British as Bury, or Finchley. 

"The Executive parties, social partners and all stakeholders in civic society should unite to secure a workable budget and to prevent the austerity crisis triggering an unprecedented political crisis." 

"Ivan Lewis should be supporting, not undermining that objective."

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