Austerity cuts continue under DUP and Tory Budget — McCartney

Commenting on today’s budget announcement, Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said 

“This is the tenth punishing austerity budget imposed by the Tory Government — now supported by the DUP —  which controls the budget allocation to the north of Ireland. 

“It exposes as sanctimonious, the claim by Theresa May in October of last year that ‘austerity is over’. 

“This budget delivered with the full backing of the DUP, will mean continued crises in education and health, increased homelessness and poverty rising. It will also mean a rates hike of 4.5% for ordinary households and 1.5% for businesses.

“Local civil servants tell us £11.9 billion is needed to fund public services. This budget falls far short of that figure and means more hardship ahead for ordinary people. Health needs will not be met, school budgets will be insufficient, and there will be less money for the arts, libraries, and underserved communities. 

“Raiding £130 million from the capital budget to shore up resource spending amounts to robbing Peter to pay Paul and means less vital infrastructure being built and fewer jobs for the construction sector.

“Despite its best efforts to cook the books the British Government admits that a number of departments will face real-term cuts, just as they have done for the past nine years during which at least £1billion has been stripped from the North’s budget.

“The DUP should hang its head in shame at having used its unprecedented leverage with the British Government to continue austerity and bring our economy to a Brexit cliff edge.”