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Alliance Party Deputy Leader Seamus Close has criticsed the continuing lack of opportunity for local political representatives to have an effective input to Government public expenditure plans.

Seamus Close said:

“For some time now we have been asking the Northern Ireland Office to arrange monthly meetings were senior civil servants can exchange first hand with local representatives information about the way Government is thinking and about how money is to be spent local politicians are kept in the dark about future Government Plans, about how the finance system within Government operates in relation to Northern Ireland, and about what costing have been made for various proposals.

“Tomorrow the SOS will announce public expenditure plans, but local politicians, who should be in a position to make informed statements about the plans will not be told in any realistic advance of the announcement.

“It is time that the SOS took seriously her much vaumpted commitment to consulting local politicians.”