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DUP/Sinn Fein consensus lasts 24 hours

Philip Smith MLA has said Finance Minister Mairtin O'Muilleoir must be clear about how he intends to make sure any further borrowing is affordable.

The Strangford MLA said:

“I congratulate the new Executive on appearing to have maintained consensus for 24 hours following their first meeting.  However, Sammy Wilson’s appearance on the radio today apparently sharing our concerns over the prospect of further borrowing seems to signal that the honeymoon period is over.  

“I was shocked to hear last night that the new Finance Minister is only in the door and is now proposing further debt as a solution to our financial problems.   If he is planning this as a way forward he needs to be very clear with the public as to how he intends to recoup the money that will be required to be paid back.

“We have already incurred high levels of debt – higher per head of population than Scotland – so the Minister needs to outline how he intends to make any additional borrowing affordable.

“We are now paying the price of previous indecision from the Executive and their failure to implement reform of the health service, education and the Civil Service.  

“Any money borrowed needs to be invested in infrastructure projects, not keeping our head above water.  We can’t get into a situation where we are using the money that is supposed to be for the mortgage to instead buy groceries.

“This isn’t a great start for the Executive, only the second day in office and already the DUP and Sinn Fein are at odds. So much for the fresh start!” 

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