NI21 unhappy at Local Government Bill, but no amendments

NI21 Deputy Leader, John McCallister MLA.
NI21 Deputy Leader, John McCallister MLA.

NI21 leader Basil McCrea yesterday said that he had “limited confidence” in the local government reform process – but his party did not table a single amendment to yesterday’s bill.

Any MLA is able to table amendments to legislation at consideration stage.

But, although there were 115 amendments to the bill tabled by the SDLP, UUP, Alliance and DUP, there were no amendments forthcoming from Sinn Fein, NI21, the TUV, Green Party or UKIP.

Mr McCrea said: “During the debate there was a general sentiment that we should ‘have a go’ at reform and see what happens in the mix.

“In light of the fact that we are leaving so much to subordinate legislation and the transition committees; given that we are holding elections to these ill-defined bodies in about 60 days, I am deeply concerned about whether local government will be fully functional in two years’ time.

“This would have serious implications for our economy and, in particular, our planning system.”

Both the TUV and NI21 said that they intend to table amendments when the bill is back on the floor of the Assembly for the further consideration stage.