O'Toole: Executive parties must use budget to front up on billion pound promises made in Assembly motions

budget matthew o'toole

The four Executive parties have collectively made promises totalling well over a billion pounds in a succession of private members motions in the Northern Ireland Assembly - despite the absence of a Budget or Programme for Government.

The costings come in new numbers from the SDLP Opposition based on publicly available estimates of the costs of the policies, given by either Executive ministers or third parties.

A selection of the promises made in motions from Executive parties totals roughly £1.5 billion and includes pledges from the governing parts on childcare, waiting lists, support the fishing industry and other priorities.

The SDLP Opposition has called on the Executive to either set out their costed plan to deliver on the promises they have made since the return of devolution or to explain to them why empty promises were made.

Leader of the Opposition Matthew O’Toole MLA said:

“The Executive is widely expected to agree a draft budget this afternoon setting out their priority areas of spending in, what we understand to be, a challenging financial environment. We would expect that the Finance Minister and her colleagues will, at a minimum, set out their costed plans to deliver on the promises they have made to the public over the last 12 weeks since the restoration of devolution.

“The SDLP Opposition estimates that these promises total over £1.5 billion in spending commitments and people, whose hopes have been raised by a series of indicative Assembly votes which Executive parties have celebrated and issued glowing statements about, deserve to know whether and when they will be delivered.

“As a constructive opposition we have always said the Executive would have to be honest with people about priorities. So they should be honest about what will happen to the billions of pounds of promises they have already made. It is time for the Executive to put their money where their mouths have been.”

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