The SDLP Opposition has secured a commitment from Executive parties to approach the Treasury with a detailed plan that sets out the scale of need and makes clear to the public that promises made over the last two years will be delivered on.
Leader of the Opposition Matthew O’Toole MLA called on the new Finance Minister to commit to producing and publishing costed plans to meet the immediate pressures facing people and public sector workers.
The SDLP endorsed a call by Executive Ministers for further resource to restore public services in Northern Ireland. An SDLP Opposition amendment calling on the Finance Minister to work with Ministers to produce costed plans for immediate priorities was passed unanimously by the Assembly.
South Belfast MLA Mr O’Toole said:
“The SDLP Opposition has started as it means to go on by securing a commitment from Executive parties to set out a detailed plan to revive public services in the very first motion debated in the new Assembly. Our proposal compels the Finance Minister, and all Executive Ministers to outline their priorities and what they will be seeking funding for. The public deserve to see costed plans and to make sure that these parties live up to the significant promises made prior to the last election and in the period where Stormont wasn’t functioning.
“For our part, we are determined to hold the Executive parties to account and ensure that any funding received goes where it’s needed most. We cannot continue to operate Stormont as a financial black hole, trapped in a continuous circle of degrading public services.
“The SDLP Opposition is happy to constructively work with the Executive today, recognising the huge financial pressures facing public services and the need to deal with our immediate priorities, including public sector pay awards, hospital waiting lists and affordable childcare, alongside a comprehensive programme for government that delivers for families on the issues they are facing.
“However, Ministers will be much more successful in securing the funding we desperately need if we make the approach with a costed and detailed plan to restore public services. It is too easy for the British Treasury to say no to an open ask so we need to put them under the pressure that people here feel every day.”