Roy Beggs MLA has claimed that the DUPs disgraceful arrogance and irresponsibility regarding the £1/2b Renewable Heat Initiative additional costs and the need for an enquiry is only matched by the irresponsible & hasty manner in which Sinn Fein’s has withdrawal from the devolved institution. The Ulster Unionist MLA has called on Sammy Wilson who was Finance Minister when the scheme was created and Alastair Ross MLA who was the DETI ( Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment) Assembly Private Secretary during this early period to account for their role in this fiasco which could cost local taxpayers £490m.
Roy Beggs MLA said, “DUP Ministers ought to have recognised the need for transparency and to be willing to be held responsible for their actions through an inquiry rather than originally opposing it. The Renewable Heat Initiative has been badly handled by DETI, DFP (Department of Finance) the First Minister and Special Advisors in terms of policy, implementation and their failure to make timely changes to protect the public purse.
Other Ministers are free to resign and trigger an election. However, the public would expect that a Minister or Party that takes such a decision would do so in a responsible manner and take great care that public services and the public do not suffer unnecessarily.
Sinn Fein also have questions to answer: they would have known since May 2016 when they assumed the role of Finance Minister of the problems associated with RHI. How have they engaged with the Department of the Economy and since then why have solutions not been put in place before now?
The DUP and SF Government had a responsibility to finalise a NI Budget for 2017/18. The Welsh Government published their draft budget in September and the Scottish Government in December. This dysfunctional DUP/SF NI Executive failed to publish a draft Budget and following the resignation of the DFM, the NI Assembly will not be approving any budget for 2017/18. There has been no attempt to end this devolved Government in an orderly basis. We have no Budget. The rates for next year cannot even be finalised and this will pose problems for both the NI Executive and Local Councils. Sinn Fein’s haste to an election without tidying up urgent government business is irresponsible and the public will ultimately have to pay the cost.”