1 December 2014 Edition
Fighting Tory austerity agenda
Sinn Féin’s aim is protecting core services and the most vulnerable in our society
REPUBLICANS are very clear in our view that we must have political and economic sovereignty.
So long as we are controlled from Westminster then we will be at the mercy of policy makers in London who have no love for or understanding of the Irish people.
The current austerity-led policy agenda of protecting the rich and attacking the poor is a clear indication of that.
The Tories have been cutting the Executive’s block grant year on year since they came to power in 2010, threatening public services.
The recent Budget allocation to the North should be seen in that light.
We have called on the other Executive parties to join with us in a united voice to protect the block grant and challenge the Westminster Government. We must ensure – in the absence of full political and economic sovereignty – that there is a proper allocation of resources for frontline public services.
Our aim during the Budget negotiations was to ensure we were in a position to protect core services such as health and education and to ensure that the most vulnerable, people on dependent on welfare payments, were protected.
It’s for this reason that an extra £200million was allocated to health.
There is an ongoing piece of work to be done and it is important that people, groups and communities respond to the Budget consultation.
The British Government needs to hear a clear and consistent message that their austerity agenda of attacking the most vulnerable in our society will not be tolerated.
Republicans are quite clear as to what could or would happen if direct rule ministers were making Budget decisions.
We would see welfare cuts implemented with devastating effects on many families, the introduction of water charges, prescription charges, rising student fees and a host of other cuts which would have most impact on the already disadvantaged.
So long as we are in a position to offer protection to the most vulnerable then we have a duty to do so.
Agreeing a draft Budget at this stage ensures that elected representatives and not civil servants are in a position to influence the final outcome of Budget allocations.
While some parties may feel that grandstanding offers them good political imagery, the reality is that it offers nothing by way of protecting core services to the most vulnerable in our society.