SDLP Finance Spokesperson Matthew O’Toole has said the DUP’s reckless decision to remove Paul Givan as First Minister has plunged the North’s three-year budget into uncertainty.
Mr O’Toole has long called for a multi-year budget to allow the Executive to put a proper plan in place to tackle the crumbling health service, the rise in the cost of living, the climate crisis and education reform.
He said that without an Executive the budget cannot be agreed, putting much needed investment at risk, with no guarantees around when the Executive will be restored.
South Belfast MLA Mr O’Toole said:
“If we are ever going to get to grips with the challenges that plague our society and our economy then we need a multi-year budget in place to plan effectively the best way to deal with these issues. Prior to Paul Givan’s resignation last week a budget is yet to be agreed by the Executive and this is one of a number of key initiatives that will fall due to the DUP’s short-sighted and self-interested move.
“While the multi-year budget brought forward by Sinn Féin Finance Minister Conor Murphy lacked imagination and failed to address many of our most pressing challenges, we now face the prospect of no budget at all, with the DUP seemingly set to pull down the institutions and keep them down unless they get their own way.
“The DUP’s move last week shows how little they care for people in the North waiting on key legislation being passed. Initiatives around organ donation, period poverty, the climate crisis and integrated education and many more have now been placed under threat. An early election won't solve any of these issues and anyone who backs their call is playing right into the DUP's hands.
"Our health service, education system and communities are all desperately in need of investment and without a multi-year budget they face nothing but uncertainty, lunging from one crisis to the next as a result of the DUP’s decision to put their own electoral interests before those of people here.”