SF welfare reform cost £114m with no collapse

TUV leader Jim Allister
TUV leader Jim Allister

TUV leader Jim Allister has challenged Sinn Fein over its own track record on wasting taxpayers money at Stormont.

He was speaking in the wake of Sinn Fein withdrawing from the Executive, criticising the DUP for its involvement in the projected costs of £490m over 20 years for the Renewable Heating Incentive scheme.

In comparison, Sinn Fein’s extended delays on implementing welfare reforms are understood to have cost the taxpayer £114 million.

Sinn Fein was also investigated by BBC Spotlight, the PSNI and the Assembly Commission for claiming £700,000 in expenses for research from a company run by the party’s finance managers.

The commission cleared the party of wrongdoing in that and also for paying office rent to three cultural societies. Spotlight could not establish what the societies were or who was behind them. No criminal charges were brought.

Mr Allister said: “Sinn Fein’s attitude to welfare reform demonstrated that they have no concern for public finances. Being in the government of a country they wish to destroy it should come as no surprise that they adopt such an attitude.”

He added: “The party’s abuse of the expenses system at Stormont and profligate attitude to public finance management in general has been a hallmark of Stormont since its inception.

“Sadly, Stormont showed little interest.”

In February last year he tabled a series of questions asking what action had been taken following the BBC Spotlight investigation.

“The commission found none of the £700,000 has been recovered in spite of the BBC finding that no evidence of research carried out by the company.”

Sinn Fein declined to offer any comment.