Using threat of revenue raising won't force DUP back to Stormont says MLA Gordon Lyons

A DUP MLA has said that attempting to put pressure on his party to go back into government with the threat of revenue raising will continue to fail.
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Gordon Lyons was commenting ahead of political parties in Northern Ireland being shown a briefing paper with more than 40 proposed revenue raising measures to deal with the ongoing financial crisis.

BBC News NI today said it has seen the briefing paper which is due to be discussed tomorrow (Thursday).

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They reported that the cash generating measures include increasing the price of paid school meals, increasing the cost of home-to-school transport, putting up Housing Executive rents, increasing MOT and driving test charges, increasing street parking charges and reversing a plan to scrap hospital parking charges.

DUP Leader Jeffrey Donaldson with MLA Gordon Lyons. Pic Colm Lenaghan/PacemakerDUP Leader Jeffrey Donaldson with MLA Gordon Lyons. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
DUP Leader Jeffrey Donaldson with MLA Gordon Lyons. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Mr Lyons described any such revenue raising as being a “sticking plaster”, arguing that a “total recalibration” of how Northern Ireland is funded is necessary.

The East Antrim MLA said: “We have witnessed previous attempts to put pressure on the DUP, including with talk of revenue raising. Further attempts will continue to fail, but also ignore the fact that any additional revenue raised would be negated if the funding model is not revised.

“Unless there is a total recalibration of how Northern Ireland is funded, the situation will only get worse. Public services will stall and get to a point where it is irretrievable.

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“There has been a growing acceptance of the facts, first raised by the DUP that the Barnett formula isn’t fit for purpose and it is not sustainable. We need to see the proper needs-based funding of public services in Northern Ireland, not sticking plasters.”

Earlier this month Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris, after a meeting with the head of the civil service, Jayne Brady, reiterated that he intends to push ahead with options for raising more public revenue in Northern Ireland.

The measures on the briefing paper have been put together by civil servants across eight Stormont departments.

Other measures include water charges, raising tuition fees, introducing prescription fees, increasing bus and rail fares and raising court fees.

BBC News NI also said that farmers could face new charges for Bovine TB testing and see any subsequent compensation payments cut.