BBC Home > BBC News > N. Ireland

Reaction to £4bn spending cuts in NI budget

20 October 10 20:42

Politicians and figures in the business and voluntary communities give their reaction to the announcement that the Northern Ireland executive is facing cuts in its capital and current spending of £4bn in real terms over four years.

TOM ELLIOTT, ULSTER UNIONIST LEADER

"Today's announcement is, in many respects, better than many had expected.

"That being said, many people in Northern Ireland are going to face tough times and it is our responsibility to do our best to alleviate their difficulties."

ALEX ATTWOOD, SDLP, SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT MINISTER

"The chancellor's announcement of £7bn additional welfare cuts was shocking but not surprising.

"I have already arranged to meet Welfare Reform Minister, Lord Freud within the next ten days to discuss my concern that this announcement could mean hundreds of millions of benefit cuts in Northern Ireland.

"The need to protect those in disadvantage and the wider need to keep our society stable are not helped by that sort of proposal."

STEPHEN FARRY, ALLIANCE PARTY FINANCE SPOKESMAN

"Today's cuts will be imposed on an existing public expenditure profile in Northern Ireland that is characterised by inefficiencies, such as the duplication of services in a divided society, populist unsustainable revenue raising decisions, and an inability to sufficiently invest in new opportunities such as the green economy.

"In addressing this challenge, the executive must be prepared to be bold and radical, and provide leadership."

DAVID VANCE, TRADITIONAL UNIONIST VOICE ECONOMICS SPOKESMAN

"Northern Ireland needs to deal with the planned cuts in a sensible way and TUV advocates five simple ideas that can deliver deficit reduction and actually protect vital jobs.

"Northern Ireland can emerge from these cuts leaner and more efficient if we show positive political leadership combined with fiscal responsibility."

PATRICIA McKEOWN, REGIONAL SECRETARY, UNISON

"It is mean, nasty and hits women and children in particular.

"The knock-on effect in Northern Ireland, where a higher proportion of our population are in need, will take 12,000 jobs out of our economy as a result of the radically reduced spending from those hit by the benefit cuts.

"The £2.5bn cuts in our revenue and capital budgets will cause the loss a further 36,000 jobs in the public and private sectors.

"This is a predicted total of 48,000 jobs."

SEAMUS MCALEAVEY, NORTHERN IRELAND COUNCIL FOR VOLUNTARY ACTION

"There are a lot more people on disability living allowance, in particular in Northern Ireland and one way or another as these benefits get reduced, it will take money out of the economy.

"Some people who are particularly disadvantaged are going to feel the hurt as are the new unemployed, they're going to find things much more difficult in the future."

GLYN ROBERTS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, NORTHERN IRELAND RETAIL TRADE ASSOCIATION

"We understand the need to cut the deficit, but we are deeply worried that this Spending Review is cutting too much too soon and could greatly prolong the recession in Northern Ireland.

"The Chancellor's announcement will mean that many thousands of civil servants in Northern Ireland could lose their jobs which, will mean a dramatic reduction in consumer spending, which will hit our already struggling retail sector."

BEN COLLINS, DIRECTOR, ROYAL INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED SURVEYORS

"In terms of Northern Ireland, we await further details of how the cuts will impact on individual government departments' budgets.

"But indications from the finance minister of a 40% cut in capital spending by 2014/15 are particularly concerning.

"Priority should be given to areas that will have maximum benefit for the economy and for competitiveness into the future, including capital spending, energy efficiency and creating a shared future."

SIOBHAN FITZPATRICK, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF EARLY YEARS

"There are concerns about the impact on young or very young children in the cuts from the welfare budget and we will now study the statement in full to work out the implications for children.

"What is important in the Northern Ireland context is how local ministers react to the new financial situation and how well the executive responds to the drop in real terms of the block grant."

JEFFREY PEEL, OXFORD ECONOMICS

"It's a manageable budget, however it's up to the local executive to reach consensus on this and to adopt a common sense approach."

Share this

Related BBC sites

*