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Public Expenditure must tackle poverty and inequality

11 June, 2007

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Martina Anderson speaking in a debate on the 'call down' of the block grant from the British Treasury - in a debate on the Supply Estimates 2007-08 - has said that public expenditure must be used to tackle disadvantage and inequality.

Speaking at Stormont Ms Anderson said:

"A key objective of public expenditure must be to contribute to changing existing patterns of disadvantage and tackling inequality.

"The criteria required to discipline the expenditure of the respective government Departments - and the overall expenditure of the Executive, is that all Government Departments, Public Bodies and Agencies - must show due regard to the potential impact of policies, programmes or projects on changing existing patterns of disadvantage and tackling inequality.

"Unless this systemic structural approach is taken to public expenditure - the current patterns of exclusion and inequality will deepen. This is not only against the agreed policy and legal commitments of the Executive and the Assembly; it is also inefficient and counter productive in the necessary linkage between building prosperity and tackling exclusion.

"Addressing the current patterns of economic and social disadvantage is the essential connection between building economic prosperity and tackling social inclusion. Unless policies and expenditure are required to make the connection and make it primary and measured, existent patterns will continue to replicate - and the ever widening gap between the prosperous and the poor will continue.

"We must understand how public expenditure is going to be restructured - in a way that changes existing patterns of disadvantage and tackling inequality." ENDS

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