TUV leader and North Antrim MLA Jim Allister has hit out at the Finance Minister’s budget announcements - especially in relation to Ballycastle’s Dalriada Hospital.
Jim Allister said: “This is a cobbled together budget, where the motivation is the shared DUP/Sinn Fein desire to cling to power. This is the glue which holds this dysfunctional executive together.
“The same desire causes the minor executive parties to allow themselves to be used as mere doormats, instead of following the logic of their supposed dissatisfaction over the budget by heading for the exit and forcing the issue of an Opposition.
“Parties that do not agree with something as fundamental as the budget should be in Opposition, not government.
“The irony of this hotch potch of convenience is that it defies some of the basic contentions of its Sinn Fein signatories. It is the vehicle to deliver more of what they term “Tory cuts”. It is a charter for austerity, such as they eschew in the Republic of Ireland.
“It slashes public services to set the scene for the ego trip and folly of devolving Corporation Tax. Hospitals will close to pay for this vanity project. Yet, leaves the squander of North/Southery untouched.
“And, of course, the big issue of Welfare Reform, is simply dodged. No financial provision has been made for the inevitable further cut in the block grant which will flow.
“As for the ‘you’ve never had it so good’ self-congratulatory posturing of the Finance minister, tell that to my many constituents who struggle from week to week, to make ends meet, or to my constituents in Ballycastle who face the closure of the Dalriada.”