In short the Executive’s Budget has been completely undermined - the assumptions underpinning it are no longer realistic, and the priority targets it has set will not be met unless there is considerable change.
The SDLP believes that it is essential the Executive revisits its spending priorities.
However the DUP and Sinn Féin have refused to change anything.
It is not credible for them to argue that to divert extra resources into priority areas would mean cutbacks in health and education and therefore change cannot be considered. If the Executive is serious about achieving its economic and social objectives then the Programme for Government and budget need to be recast.
Doing nothing is not an option. More jobs, more houses, more nurses mean a stronger economy.
The SDLP has been challenged to say not only where it would like to direct more resources - but also where it would find the money.
The Executive has a fairly straightforward role as a Government: It has no powers of taxation, no currency to manage and no leverage over interest rates. Therefore it is all the more vital that it manages its one economic lever, public expenditure, optimally.
In managing public expenditure in the economic downturn, we must;
Policy Document: New Priorities