UUP launches five steps to cope with changes

THE Ulster Unionist Party has accused executive ministers of "hollow grandstanding" ahead of tomorrow's comprehensive spending review (CSR).

Strangford MLA David McNarry – the party’s finance spokesperson – called for any cuts to be made in an “open, transparent and defendable way”, and accused the DUP of ignoring previous warnings.

“Despite the fact that I and the Ulster Unionist Party have consistently warned successive DUP finance ministers about the state of our public finances, the executive has still failed to come up with a credible and cohesive plan,” said Mr McNarry.

“We cannot sit and hope and carelessly raise people’s expectations that something will turn up. We were elected by the public to run their finances maturely and we have to do that,” he added.

Launching the UUP’s paper on the forthcoming cuts, entitled ‘You heard it here first’, Mr McNarry outlined five “key steps” to cope with the expected 1.6 billion cuts over the next five years.

These include a revision of the programme for government, a strategic approach to cuts, as well as capital programme and funding gap strategies.

They have also called on the coalition Government to urgently produce its economic paper on rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy, which they add, must include specific proposals on corporation tax and enterprise zones.

UUP leader Tom Elliott said the party would not shy away from the “difficult process” ahead.

“We want to see coordinated action from the Executive.

“Once we know the full extent of the CSR, once it has been broken down and analysed, the fine detail must be attended to quickly,” said Mr Elliott.