DRD Minister, Danny Kennedy MLA, gives his reaction to the 2016/16 Executive Budget and the January Monitoring Round.
Mr Kennedy said: “In terms of the January Monitoring Round, I voted for an allocation of money to street lighting which I have been arguing for since October.
“The fact that the money is available during this financial year means we should never have been in this position. I asked for this money in October and I`m only getting it in January.
“The fact that the Finance Minister continues to play silly games over £20 million that had been taken from my budget and spent at the centre is a matter of embarrassment for him and not something that I have allowed to distract me from getting more money for fixing street lights. It is a matter of regret that Simon Hamilton continues to force people to suffer unnecessary inconvenience by sitting on money that could be used for road repairs and other essential services.
“I won the argument on concessionary fares and I`ve won the argument on street lights albeit only for this year.”
“Two issues were before us on Thursday. One was the 2015/16 Budget and the other was the January Monitoring Round.
“With regards to the Budget, I voted against a deal which replicates many of the problems of the past. We have heard much talk in the past few weeks of parties coming together to sort issues out. It was clear that this budget had already been agreed between the two larger parties. So much for the consensus spoken about at Stormont House. This budget is a creation of the DUP and Sinn Fein.
“I am not satisfied with this budget from a DRD point of view, but neither am I satisfied at the overall package.
“I am also amazed that, given that the consultation period only ended on 29th December, the DUP and Sinn Fein were able to come to this agreement within days.
“This budget is another Sinn Fein/DUP carve up concocted in the back rooms of Stormont Castle rather than around the Executive table.”