Budget Bill: Second Stage

Part of Executive Committee Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 7:15 pm on 9th February 2016.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Sinn Féin 7:15 pm, 9th February 2016

Go raibh maith agat, a Phríomh-LeasCheann Comhairle. Tá áthas orm páirt a ghlacadh sa díospóireacht seo inniu faoin cháinaisnéis. Mr Weir brings good news: I did not know that we had an extra £50 million for capital build.

I want to speak in favour and in defence of the Budget. It is a Budget of which we can be proud. These are tough issues and tough times. Despite that, we have come up with a Budget that will serve our people well. It does not have everything in it that I would like, and there are areas in which I would have liked to see additional expenditure. However, being in government, sharing power with others and having to come to agreed settlements mean that you do not get everything that you want. Despite that, there are many things in the Budget that the electorate will be grateful for. In particular, I am proud of the fact that we have set aside over half a billion pounds for welfare top-ups. No other place in these islands has managed to match that in any way at all. It is testimony to the generosity of the political parties that lead the Executive and to our constituents that they have agreed that we should set aside such a monumental sum of money to ease the effect of Tory welfare cuts.

I am also proud of some local things in the Budget. The school of law at Queen's will get £10 million. I really hope that the social investment fund prospers in the year ahead and that the money allocated to it is spent. I think of the Markets tunnel project, a magnificent project to link the Markets to the city centre. I hope that that will be realised —