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'Budget means more Tory cuts' - Michelle Gildernew

Published: 22 November, 2017

Today's budget supported by the DUP means relentless austerity, deepening inequality and further cuts to the North's block grant, Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew has said.

"This Tory budget represents a real term cut of between £100m and £200m in the money available for day-to-day spending in the North's block grant next year," she commented.

"So there is no good news in this budget for our public services and for public sector workers who have already borne the brunt of years of Tory austerity cuts to the block grant. There is no extra money for health. No extra money for education. No extra money for our front line services staff.

"The reference to £650m additional firepower for the North is a bad joke. The bulk of that money, to be spread over four years will be in Financial Transaction Capital monies which have to be loaned to businesses and which traditionally we have been unable to use.

"By his own admission, the British Chancellor accepts this budget will usher in a further fall in economic growth - which is set to fall below 1 per cent in the North while in the South of Ireland GDP is growing at over 4 per cent.

"There is, however, plenty of extra money for the Brexit calamity because the British Government has now committed an additional £3bn on top of the £700m already set aside to fund their preparations for leaving the EU.

"Not only are they trying to drag the North out of the EU against our will, they want to fund it by cutting our public services."

The MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone also criticised the DUP-Tory pact to support Theresa May's government.

She said,

"Once again, this budget shows the folly of the DUP's decision to give a blank cheque to the Tories as part of their pact with Theresa May.

"The DUP committed to supporting all finance and Brexit legislation as part of that arrangement. This means that the DUP are continuing to support further cuts to our block grant and further pressure piling onto our public services." - Ends/Críoch