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Budget 2016-17

Part of Executive Committee Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 4:15 pm on 19th January 2016.

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Photo of Colum Eastwood Colum Eastwood Social Democratic and Labour Party 4:15 pm, 19th January 2016

The SDLP will not support this Budget, and I will be making a very critical speech about it. I will not, however, question the integrity of anybody in the Chamber. I do not believe that that is a good way to go about our business. I will begin by congratulating the Minister on his elevation; he has clearly shown himself to be a very competent and capable Minister, and I look forward to working with him in his new role.

It has to be said, however, that, if yesterday was Blue Monday, this is truly a Blue Tuesday Budget. As one of the final acts of Stormont's current leadership, this is a Budget that is depressingly familiar. There is no fresh start here. It is a Budget that is characterised by its lack of ambition, lack of creativity and lack of ideas. It is a Budget that has been cobbled together by two parties whose only interest seems to be staying in power.