Hanna: Civil Service Correct to Publish Budget Challenges
“The SDLP will study the detail of today’s budget briefing, but at first glance, the paper makes for very grim reading. The challenges facing our public services cannot be underestimated nor can they be ignored.
“We welcome the publication of the paper by the Civil Service. Last week the SDLP met with the Head of the Civil Service and told him to bring full transparency to the financial situation. We need to know where our public finances are at despite the failure of the DUP and Sinn Fein to restore government here.
“The options presented in the paper show the scale of the challenge for any incoming government, but just because there are challenges does not mean that parties should be able to sit government out.
“There are hard decisions to be made, that’s reality and any responsible political party must be prepared to face reality. Standing in elections to govern, is about just that government - and government requires budgetary responsibility.
“The democratic deficit created by the political impasse has left the job of government solely to civil servants - that is unfair and irresponsible.
“The challenges facing Northern Ireland were not just created over the last year, but over the last ten years government should have delivered more. All political parties now must look at the budgetary situation in detail and work to protect our services and our economy.”