Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has called for concerted civic action to protect public services and the vulnerable in society.
Raymond McCartney said:
“Last week we heard from the leaders of the four major churches calling on political leaders to do all in their power to reach agreement in the ongoing talks. They stressed that poverty is bearing down heavily on families and communities and that political uncertainty causes further anxiety on vulnerable people.
“Sinn Féin is in the current negotiations in a problem-solving mode. We will continue to make the case that the Executive needs a viable and sustainable budget if we are to protect public services and the vulnerable.
“Sinn Féin will not be part of any agenda, which punishes the poor and dismantles public services.
“But ensuring stability and sustainability of the institutions will require a concerted, coordinated effort by civic society to offset the British government’s brutal assault on public services and the welfare state.
“I urge trade unions, the community and voluntary sectors, business and campaigning groups to add their voices to that of the Church leaders to ensure the British government gets the message we need a viable budget.
“In all of our engagements with the governments and all the parties we have made it clear that the Executive needs a viable budget for frontline public services and welfare protections for the most vulnerable.
“As well as the effect of year-on-year cuts of hundreds of millions to the Executive budget the Tories are now planning to impose further swingeing cuts to tax credits.
“This will have a wide-ranging effect on the wider economy with SMEs, social economy projects and community services all feeling the brunt of these Tory policies.
“Nobody will be unaffected by these cuts. Therefore it is imperative there is a united response from political and civic leaders.
“The greatest single threat to our economy and standard of living.