Hanna: Direct Rule Budget puts the DUP in the Driving Seat
Ms Hanna said:
“This is a direct rule budget from London directed by the DUP. While the SDLP recognises the need for a budget to be set to keep public services afloat – a budget for local people and local services should be set in Stormont not in Westminster.
“This budget presents more questions than answers. Primarily, how can it be acceptable that the DUP Confidence and Supply is allocated to departments without any political accountability?
“This budget puts the DUP in the driving seat. The failure of the DUP and Sinn Fein to restore power-sharing has given London and the DUP a free hand in our affairs. We have reached a very difficult and distressing point. The London Government should not underplay the seriousness of the situation our politics finds itself in.
“The SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood put a proposal on the table to break the deadlock by using the Good Friday Agreement to reconvene the British and Irish Intergovernmental Conference – yet neither Governments nor the DUP and Sinn Fein seem willing to find solutions.
“Direct Rule from London under the direction of the DUP is not a solution – it undermines the very fabric of our politics and the spirit of power sharing that underpins it.
“The SDLP will be meeting with the Head of the Civil Service urgently, we want to ensure services are safeguarded but also that transparency and public accountability are at the core of any budgetary allocations.”