East Antrim Ulster Unionist Party MLA Roy Beggs has responded to comments by Sinn Fein which called for even wider public services, despite the fact that the country is currently subject to £2m of weekly welfare fines as a direct result of Sinn Fein’s own financial mismanagement, in addition to a budgetary black hole in the recently approved Assembly Budget for 2015/16.
East Antrim Assemblyman Roy Beggs said:
“It is easy for Sinn Fein to call for more spending on wider public services whilst conveniently ignoring their own financial irresponsibility. Their flip-flop on Welfare Reform is costing the people of Northern Ireland £2 million per week. This is money that could be spent on the most vulnerable in society, including those in need of health care, but that doesn`t seem to matter to Sinn Fein. For Oliver McMullan and his colleagues, the party always comes first.
“Just as households have to live within their budgets, so too must Government. Already the NI Executive has higher levels of borrowing than other devolved regions. Sinn Fein ought to have learned lessons from their Greek colleagues in Syriza who, faced with busting the bank, decided reform and take steps to balance their books. Oliver McMullan and his colleagues seem to be intent in busting the Northern Ireland Executive bank but no one will be thankful if emergency in-year spending cuts are announced as last year or if drastic remove funds from next year’s budget.”
Mr Beggs MLA added:
“At a time when there is a £600m gap in the Northern Ireland Assembly budget, as a result of Sinn Fein failure to honour the Stormont House Agreement to implement Welfare Reform, it is with surprise that I see that Oliver McMullan MLA is wanting the Department of Regional Development and the Department Health to pay to extend free travel to carers. Whilst I can see merits if we were able to further extend free travel, we all must already be aware of the growing waiting lists in the Health Service and the existing financial pressures on maintaining our roads and providing public transport. Given this, it would be foolhardy to add further pressures on these Departments. What other local services does Oliver McMullan want to cut to pay for this or are local taxes to be raised?”