The SDLP will today seek to amend the Dup-SF budget to protect frontline health services, ensure there is no increase in student fees and create greater opportunities for job creation in tourism.
Therefore today we will attempt to change the first set of budget proposals to go before the Assembly.
Our amendment, which is technical in nature, calls for a reduction in corporate overheads such as travel and consultants across various departments. We also want the removal of funding from the Sinn Féin/DUP slush fund designed to benefit their chosen groups.
In addition, the SDLP has highlighted the areas of the budget where we believe more spending is required.
These include health to protect frontline services, education and tourism. The SDLP want increased funding for employment and learning in an effort to prevent a rise in student fees.
The SDLP oppose an increase in student fees and have led the campaign against them. Today is an opportunity for Sinn Fein, the DUP, the UUP and the Alliance Party to stand up against increase in student fees and vote to reallocate resources so working families and students can be assured that fees will not increase in the years ahead.
“That this Assembly approves that a sum, not exceeding £6,654,663,000, be granted out of the Consolidated Fund on account for or towards defraying the charges for Northern Ireland Departments, the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission, the Assembly Ombudsman for Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland Commissioner for Complaints, the Food Standards Agency, the Northern Ireland Audit Office, the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation and the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland for the year ending 31 March 2012 and that resources, not exceeding £7,336,432,000, be authorized, on account, for use by Northern Ireland Departments, the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission, the Assembly Ombudsman for Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland Commissioner for Complaints, the Food Standards Agency, the Northern Ireland Audit Office, the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation and the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland for the year ending 31 March 2012 as summarised for each Department or other public body in Columns 4 and 6 of Table 1 in the Vote on Account 2011-12 document that was laid before the Assembly on 7 February 2011.“
Minister of Finance and Personnel
Insert at end; subject to a reduction in requests for resources for the following departments:
£0.7 million DCAL
£0.5 million DFP
£0.7 million DOE
£7.0 million DOJ
£3.8 million DRD
£9.4 million OFMDFM
“and requests the Minister of Finance and Personnel to consider the allocation of the resultant reductions to the Department of Education, for the promotion of community relations, to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment for tourism development, to the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, for frontline health and social care services, to the Department for Employment and Learning, for student finance and to the Department for Social Development, for tackling poverty; and further calls on the Minister to consider the identification of further financial resources for these purposes prior to the publication of the Budget Bill Main Estimates 2011-12“.