Ulster Unionist Peer Lord Empey has said the previous Northern Ireland Executive abdicated its responsibilities in Government.
Lord Empey was commenting after he helped progress the Northern Ireland (Ministerial Appointments and Regional Rates) Bill.
Lord Empey said:
“I welcome the introduction of the indicative Budget and the new legislation to set a regional rate. However, it is disheartening and utterly disgraceful that my colleagues and I in both Houses of Parliament have had to push through legislation in the absence of a functioning Executive in Northern Ireland.
“As I told the Northern Ireland Minister Lord Dunlop, the last Executive has shown contempt for those who are suffering on long hospital waiting lists, the school principals who cannot plan their budgets, the community and voluntary sector employees who are on protective notice and the thousands who now face a late collection of rates.
“It is with great disdain that we must remember that the Stormont institutions have been ‘out to lunch’ since Christmas and we are now looking at the earliest possible resumption to be the end of June. This is not good enough. Not only are essential day to day matters being neglected, we are now facing the very real prospect of losing hard-fought power to devolve and reduce Corporation Tax, which was arranged for next year.
“People in Northern Ireland have been waiting far too long for a functioning Executive to deliver on their behalf.”