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SDLP show no imagination in its Budget appraisal -

21 February, 2011

Sinn Féin Assembly Economy Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (South Antrim) commenting on SDLP criticism of the Draft Budget proposals said;

“It is becoming increasingly clear that the SDLP are devoid of imaginative thinking when it comes to budgetary matters. Its spokespersons seem to think that taking every media opportunity available to criticise the Draft Budget proposals compensates for their failure to participate in the drafting of the proposals.

"During the drafting process Sinn Féin was proactive in our determination to identify efficiencies in present Departmental spending practices as well as new revenue streams where possible. In our deliberations Sinn Féin identified £1.86Billion to alleviate the effects of the Tory imposed cuts to the Executive Budget.

"In contrast to Sinn Féin's proactive and imaginative approach to these matters the SDLP only published its Economic paper the week before the Draft Budget was produced. It consisted mainly of a regurgitated version of a paper it published a number of years ago. In an effort to freshen it up they included a number of ideas discussed during the all-party Budget Review Group meetings to which they did not contribute one single proposal.

"Now in the mouth of an election they propose an amendment to the Draft Budget which they claim would generate £22.1million.

"The only manifestation of the SDLP’s ‘hokey cokey’ relationship with the Executive that is visible so far is it is increasingly identified as an ally of the UUP/Tory party.

"The SDLP say this Budget isn’t good enough, no one is denying that but Sinn Féin rather than sit back and lick the wounds inflicted by the British Exchequer went about identifying an additional £1.86 Billion of efficiencies and revenue raising opportunities in our document, ‘A Better Way’.

So I would advise the SDLP to stop playing politics with people’s future in advance of an election. They would serve the people better by joining with us in working to ensure a better deal for all instead of playing party politics with all of our futures.” CRÍOCH

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