Ulster Unionist MLA Leslie Cree has challenged the Finance Minister Simon Hamilton to detail just how much money his Department has paid to PWC for consultancy work.
The North Down MLA, who is also his Party’s Finance spokesperson, was speaking following claims by PWC that’s the 2015/16 Assembly budget ‘does not really balance.’
Mr Cree said;
“The question which I would like to ask Simon Hamilton is just how much money has his Department paid to PWC for consultancy work throughout the course of this Assembly mandate?
“This is an important question, because given the dismissive criticism of PWC’s analytical powers from a departmental spokesperson, it would appear that the Minister has been paying good money for advice from a Company which does not enjoy the full confidence of his Department.
“Today’s criticism of the Stormont Budget by PWC, including claims that the 2015/16 budget ‘does not really balance’ were met with a very dismissive response from a DFP spokesperson who claimed that
‘PwC's report lacks any worthwhile insight or understanding of the complexities of public expenditure. The report's commentary on the draft budget shows a deficit in depth of knowledge and analysis.’
“This is a major criticism of a highly respected financial consultancy firm which has in the past been entrusted with important work by a variety of Government departments, not least DFP itself, and I believe Simon Hamilton must tell us just how much money he has spent on advice from this source in the past.”