Rogers Expresses Concerns Over Stormont Budget

South Down will be one of the constituencies most hit by the Tory led Sinn Fein / DUP budget says Séan Rogers SDLP MLA.

[caption id="attachment_35966" align="alignleft" width="360"]budget The Stormont budget has been criticised by South Down MLA Séan Rogers. [/caption]

Seán Rogers has voiced his concerns that South Down will be one of the constituencies very hard hit by the ‘Tory-led Sinn Fein / DUP budget”. He said: “No other parties voted for the deal presented to the Northern Ireland  Executive with SDLP Minister Mark Durkan voting against it.”

Supporting his executive colleague’s position that the deal is “bad for the people of Northern Ireland”, Mr Rogers said: “Watching Sinn Fein and DUP carve up amongst themselves the heavily reduced Tory offerings has to represent one of the quickest political u-turns in recent history. Sinn Fein did not even have the time to remove their “Stop Tory Cuts” banners.

Mr Rogers said: “The lack of consideration given to how the Northern Ireland budget will impact on people particularly the most vulnerable within society is sickening.

[caption id="attachment_32196" align="alignright" width="250"]South Down MLA Sean Rogers. South Down MLA Sean Rogers.[/caption]

“The savage nature of the proposals, if imposed on us, will be widely felt for many years. Workers, who are fortunate enough to remain in employment, will experience pay freezes with many frontline essential services disappearing. I am particularly concerned that the ‘temporary closure” of services at Downe Hospital could be one such service.

“South Down is a constituency that already carries the burden of great economic imbalance. If these Tory-led Sinn Fein/DUP cuts are allowed to go ahead unchallenged it is likely the economic gap that exists will widen throwing our local economy into a downward spiral.

“The Department of employment and Learning is amongst the hardest hit with a budget cut of 11%. The main Universities have already made known to Minister Farry that they will each experience a loss of 1,000 graduates in year one alone. Apprenticeships and Further Education training opportunities will also be significantly hit.”

Describing the draft budget as a “daft budget”,  the SDLP Assemblyman said: “Any party who that proclaims their main focus is to grow the economy whilst reducing the number of graduates and axing an estimated 14,000 public sector jobs is both financially and fiscally illiterate”.

Mr Rogers added: “The SDLP are eager that the public are afforded an opportunity, through consultation, to examine the detail of the draft budget despite Sinn Fein’s arrogant stance that ‘anyone who thinks that they can get a better budget deal is in fantasy land’.

“It is now a case of damage limitation. I would urge the public to consider the sound proposals promoted by the SDLP and to engage with the consultation process in an effort to minimise the damage caused by Sinn Fein / DUPs insistence on implementing these Tory cuts.”