Hanna: NIAC report sets out need for ambition and delivery

claire hanna NIAC

SDLP South Belfast MP Claire Hanna has said a report published today by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee highlights the need for Stormont to move beyond symbolism into delivery.

The result of an inquiry spanning several months by the Westminster committee, the report outlines how absent ministers, budgetary pressures and rising need have led to pressure to the point of collapse in many public services. The report highlights particularly the impact in health, education, and justice.

It also set out that although additional funding from the UK Government will help to ease pressures in the immediate term, Northern Ireland will still face a cliff edge in coming years and consideration must be given to greater fiscal devolution and revenue raising here if we are to get our public services on more sustainable financial footing.

NIAC member Claire Hanna MP said:

“Stop start government, missed opportunities for reform, short term budgets and austerity from London have combined to create an unprecedented squeeze on public services here.

“More than a quarter of the population in Northern Ireland are sitting on waiting lists, education spend per pupil here is lower than in other jurisdictions, there is a lack of capacity in relation to SEN provision, school buildings are crumbling, the voluntary and community sector continues to struggle and there remains a huge backlog of court cases. Immediate and significant intervention by Ministers here is required to address these seismic issues.

“Two months into the restored Executive, no substantial action has been taken to address any of the challenges facing our public services; Ministers have not brought forward any spending plans or substantive legislation. The public cannot afford to wait any longer for action to transform public services and the NI Executive must begin this process as an absolute priority.

“The findings in this report also demonstrate the need for institutional reform to avoid continuous collapse of the Executive as a major barrier to public service transformation. The SDLP Opposition will continue to push for better governance in Northern Ireland and maintain pressure on Ministers here to bring forward plans to address the multitude of challenges faced across all sectors.”


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