‘Anyone who still believes that austerity is a natural phenomenon will be surprised by today’s financial package which underpins the DUP / Tory deal’, the Workers Party has said.
‘When benefits were being cut, public sector workers made redundant, hospital waiting lists lengthening and banks bailed out with public money, we were told that the collapse of the economy had forced austerity on us all. Not so it seems.’
‘When the Tory Party needs to hold on to power, money is no object’
‘When the dust settles on today’s agreement Northern Ireland will be better off by over £1 billion but how much that will actually contribute to an improved quality of life and a better society is very questionable’, the Party said
£50 million to address ‘immediate pressures in health’ is likely to go the way of previous waiting list initiatives: straight into the pockets of private healthcare companies while the root causes of the problems are ignored.
Not one penny of the £50m earmarked for education will go towards implementing an integrated system. It will be used instead to shore up division.
£400m worth of infrastructure projects will see the delivery of several high profile projects but not the 40,000 new homes that Northern Ireland needs over the next two years
£20m a year for the next five years for deprived communities will re-assure no one familiar with the funding of projects like the Social Investment Fund.
‘City Deals and Enterprise Zones’ are also presented as a solution to high unemployment and the absence of an indigenous manufacturing base. They are the failed brainchild of the late Margaret Thatcher. Offering reduced rates of tax, deregulation and minimal government involvement they have failed in the past providing little employment, skills, training or support for local people’
‘Today’s additional funding has the potential to make some progress on a number of major issues. However, using it to fund private sector companies and pay for lower business taxes while failing to make long term investments in health, education, and public housing will see it frittered away’
The immediate priorities for the major parties in Northern Ireland now are to agree a working Executive as quickly as possible and bring forward a strategic plan to strengthen and improve public services, invest in education, skills and training, develop an indigenous manufacturing base and set out a programme for full employment,’the Party statement concluded.