SDLP savages SF finance minister for ‘wasting’ chance to curb waiting lists

The finance minister has “wasted” another opportunity to address Northern Ireland’s waiting list crisis as he presents a passive Budget to the Assembly today, SDLP finance spokesman Matthew O’Toole has claimed.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 12:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 9:23 am

The South Belfast MLA described Conor Murphy’s second Budget as a “triumph of passivity and indifference”, adding it fails to offer any vision for how to finance efforts to tackle the waiting list crisis or other major challenges such as Covid recovery or catch-up efforts in education.

Instead, Mr O’Toole said the finance minister will present a rollover one-year Budget with “no sense of vision, purpose – or agency in addressing the urgent issues facing our society”.

The final 2021-22 Budget is to be debated in the Assembly later today.

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Finance Minister Conor Murphy

Mr O’Toole said: “Conor Murphy’s second Budget is a triumph of passivity and indifference.

“Shorn of vision or direction, it lists allocations as if the finance minister were a bureaucrat doling out grants.

“Yes, the UK Treasury failed to provide a multi-year Budget and that limits the ability for the Executive to make multi-year allocations, but why is a republican finance minister simply offering the indifference of London institutions as an excuse for his own passivity?

“He should be setting out his own long-term vision for financing to address the waiting list crisis and our Covid recovery rather than simply acting as a postbox for Treasury officials.

“It simply isn’t good enough when our health service is in crisis and our economy facing huge challenges for our finance minister be so passive and lack any vision.

“We all deserve better.”

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