Ulster Unionist Finance spokesperson, Steve Aiken OBE MLA, has expressed deep concern that no detail or clarity has been provided on the budget expected to be brought forward by the Secretary of State later this week.
Steve Aiken OBE MLA said:
“With just days to go before the Secretary of State makes a statement on the Northern Ireland budget we have no confidence that the UK Government will bring forward the transformational budget that we need.
“It is deeply concerning that there is no clarity or detail being provided to parties at this stage. Indeed, at a supposed briefing provided to parties, officials would not even answer direct questions relating to the budget.
“It is no secret that Northern Ireland’s finances are in a dire position. We do not even know that if extra funds are made available whether civil servants would be able to make strategic decisions on allocating spend within departments. It is also clear that whatever budget will be brought forward by the Secretary of State will not follow the Outcomes Based Accountability model that forms the Programme for Government.
This model was supposed to have a transformational effect on policy making and spending decisions within the Executive yet the forthcoming budget can be expected to consider departmental budgets within their silos.
“We are left in this situation due to the DUP and Sinn Fein’s inability to form an Executive. While they are busy arguing over who produced which document during the talks, we are potentially going to see a disastrous budget produced over our heads which will impact on every single person in Northern Ireland.”