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Budget 2016-17

Part of Executive Committee Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 6:15 pm on 19th January 2016.

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Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP 6:15 pm, 19th January 2016

Thank you, Mr Principal Deputy Speaker.

As the Member well knows, we brought the legislation before this House to deal with it in this House. It was his party that signed a petition of concern, along with Sinn Féin and others, to block it going through. Had the SDLP decided not to sign, there may well not have been enough people for the petition of concern and that would have allowed us to debate the matter and have a majority vote in this House. However, a petition of concern was chosen to block those decisions from taking place.

I heard Mr Allister criticise what we did here. I make no apology whatsoever for not introducing the bedroom tax. I make no apology for refining the proposals that came from Westminster and not adopting them carte blanche, because there are many aspects of welfare that did need refinement and many aspects that would not have made fiscal sense, particularly in Northern Ireland, where we do not have the housing available to have one-bedroom units for so many people. It would have been a false economy to move forward on that.