Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said today the political institutions remain the best way to protect people from the worst excesses of Tory austerity.
“At the heart of this agreement is our common commitment to a better future.
“The cuts to our welfare budgets, tax credits and our block grant are wrong and unfair. We are determined to do all in our power to oppose this austerity and protect our people and our public services.
“We have secured more than half a billion pounds of additional funding for the Executive plus flexibilities that can be invested in growth and public services.
“We are providing a package of £585 million to support the most vulnerable in our society and low-income working families.
“We have appointed a panel under the leadership of Professor Eileen Evason to draft proposals on how this money will provide essential support to people on welfare and thousands of families targeted by Tory cuts to tax credits.
“We will continue to do all we can to support those in need.
“The legacy of the past remains a huge gap in this work. The onus remains on the British government to live up to their responsibilities to victims, in particular full disclosure.
“We also addressed directly the issue of paramilitarism. There can be no place for armed groups in our society. That is why the agreement includes additional resources for policing and mechanisms to challenge armed gangs and criminality.
“Our political institutions are the best way forward. The First Minister and I are absolutely united on this.”