Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Budget to benefit “Brexit calamity”, public services will suffer: Brady

The details of the latest budget announced by the British government on Wednesday will lead to further cuts in the public services of health and education in the north as extra money is ploughed into funding the “Brexit calamity”, Sinn Fein MP Mickey Brady has claimed.

“This Tory budget represents a real term cut off between £100m and £200m in the money available for day-to-day spending in the North’s block grant next year. So there is no good news in this budget for our public services and for public sector workers who have already borne the brunt of years of Tory austerity cuts to the block grant. There is no extra money for health, no extra money for education, no extra money for our frontline services staff,” Mr Brady said.

“The reference to £650m additional firepower for the North is a bad joke. The bulk of that money, to be spread over four years, will be in Financial Transaction Capital – monies which have to be loaned to businesses and which traditionally we have been unable to use.”

Criticising the government’s pledge of extra money which he says is to fund the “Brexit calamity”, he added: “The British Government has now committed an additional £3bn on top of the £700m already set aside to fund their preparations for leaving the EU.  Not only are they trying to drag the North out of the EU against our will, they want to fund it by cutting our public services.

“By his own admission, the British Chancellor accepts this budget will usher in a further fall in economic growth, which is set to fall below one per cent in the North, while the South of Ireland GDP is growing at over 4 per cent.

“Once again, this budget shows the folly of the DUP’s decision to give a blank cheque to the Tories as part of their pact with Theresa May.  The DUP committed to supporting all finance and Brexit legislation as part of that arrangement so now they will find themselves supporting further cuts to our block grant and further pressure piled on our public services.”