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Tory cuts ‘disastrous’ – Sinn Féin

20 October, 2010

Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Mitchel McLaughlin, commenting on the Comprehensive Spending Review statement by the British Chancellor George Osborne, has said;

“What we have heard today is what we have all been anticipating – punitive cuts in the Block grant coupled with significant and severe reductions for those in receipt of benefits, pensioners and low-income families.

The projected cuts are savage – there is no other word to use. They signal only disastrous consequences for the economy in general and the most disadvantaged in particular.

The outcome of what George Osborne announced today, if allowed to go unchallenged, will result in a minimum of 20,000 job losses in the public sector in the North and a similar number in the private sector.

And remember, since May 2008 the unemployment figure has risen by 35,000. We are therefore facing into the prospect of up to and over 100,000 unemployed.

The announcement also casts a question over Owen Patterson’s assertion a week ago that the £18 billion investment package which was agreed as part of the St Andrews Agreement is guaranteed.

We have some more work to do to digest and analyse the detail of the announcement. But, the starting point for the Executive and Assembly and the various sectors that have a stake in this society is to agree that today’s announcement is not the end but instead the first round in an ongoing battle to safeguard and secure frontline public services and regenerate the economy.

The British Treasury had a choice. We should not forget that. There is an alternative approach. They have chosen to cut public services rather than invest.

We do not accept this approach.

The job of work here for politicians has to be about challenging this and securing a different outcome. Acquiescence is not an option.

If local parties simply roll over and accept the Tories attack on public services then the damage to the local economy will be huge. We cannot allow this to happen.

We need to sit down now and discuss this in detail. We need to be innovative and we all need to bring forward proposals which protect the most vulnerable and defend public services. We have already done that. All the parties need to set out now where the stand on the way ahead.” CRÍOCH

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