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Budget 2016-17

Part of Executive Committee Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 5:45 pm on 19th January 2016.

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Photo of Gordon Lyons Gordon Lyons DUP 5:45 pm, 19th January 2016

That was the point I was about to come to. When you look at the figures, you see that we have always had borrowing. That is important for investment. The costs are all laid out. So, yes, there is more borrowing this year, but a large part of it is because of the voluntary exit scheme. We heard the figures for that already. There will be a cost of £183 million, but in the first year we will save £160 million and £160 million the year after that and so on. In 14 months we will have it repaid. I think that is a good investment.

I regularly hear people in the Chamber saying that we have underinvestment in Northern Ireland and that we need investment here, there and everywhere. So, when we have this investment, it should be welcomed. I want to ask all those Members who are opposed to the borrowing and to the investment to put up their hand. Put up your hand if you are against investing in a hospital for mothers and children or if you are against investing in the Belfast transport hub. Are any Members going to put up their hand and say that they are opposed to investment in regional stadia or in the A6? No Members are prepared or willing to say, "I am against the investment", but it is very easy to say, "I am against borrowing. I don't like that." We need a little bit of realism.