In a House of Commons vote this week the DUP MPs backed the government’s plan to eliminate the budget deficit by 2019 and to commit to surpluses in the budget when economic circumstances are normal.
The DUP’s Treasury spokesman Sammy Wilson said that “While all the parties in the House of Commons apart from the Green party agreed that the deficit on public finances had to be tackled, none were prepared to say how or when. In fact during the debate all we got were a list of reasons why it could not be tackled and a list of things that opposition parties wished to spend money on.”
North Antrim MP Ian Paisley commented “It is simply not manageable to continue running up these endless deficits in denial that this debt is becoming an unworkable burden.”
“It would also not be right for the economic recovery of the coming years to simply be used to repair the damage our generation have caused. That growth needs to be used to develop the United Kingdom for our young people. Only with a structured plan of how to meet and indeed go beyond the targets that we as a parliament set, can we ever look to achieve them.”
East Antrim MP Mr Wilson also commented “The arguments against the commitment to bring our deficit down and start paying off debt by 2019 are shallow and contradictory. If this is, as some are claiming, a gimmick, then the Chancellor will soon be caught out since clear benchmarks have been set.”
“One thing is certain it cannot be argued it is a gimmick and then in the same breath argue it will wreck the economy by imposing a fiscal straight jacket.”
There is still a degree of financial flexibility within this deficit reduction proposal as the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will still have the ability to respond to economic shocks, providing he explains what he wishes to do and how he intends to get back on course to a budget surplus.
Mr Paisley added “What we can’t have is the schizophrenic approach adopted by the labour party of declaring that it wishes to deal with the deficit but only proposed more public spending, or far worse the position expressed by the Green Party that we should “continue to borrow until we can’t afford to pay back!”
“Secondly it does not tie parties like our own into supporting every government financial proposition. Parties can still challenge the individual ways which the government seeks to use to achieve its target and put forward their own ideas.”
He concluded “Our backing the government on this issue does not in any way guarantee our support to them on ‘all things fiscal’. We will always vote in the manner that will secure the best deal for the people of Northern Ireland, regardless of whether that involves voting with or against the government on any given issue.”