Where's our democracy? and our budget.

In November, to coincide with the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, the Where’s Our Democracy campaign turned its attention to the dire state of our budget in Northern Ireland. It is impossible to deny that the economy – and people’s pockets – are the things most obviously impacted by the lack of Government, and this year several severe cuts have been made to stay within budget, all of which have had an immediate and disproportionate impact on women and on other marginalised people. In addition, any additional funds allocated during the year have not been sent to Northern Ireland, instead they have been used to pay down the overspend from the previous year. As if that was not enough, in the coming months various departments will hold consultations into revenue raising measures, with hospital parking, student fees, prescription charges, water charges and changes to domestic rates among the items being considered. Unless the Assembly is restored, next year looks to be even more challenging.

In this environment, the Where’s Our Democracy? campaign decided to launch our Common Sense Budget for Northern Ireland document with an event at the Duncairn in Belfast which you can watch back here. With headline recommendations for every department, the overall argument is straightforward; for Northern Ireland to work well, and for people to be in a position to go beyond struggling to make ends meet and to be in a position to thrive, we need investment, not further cuts and squeezes to our purses. These include investment in our water and sewerage systems, in the draft Ending Violence Against Women & Girls Strategy, in ring-fenced funding for SEN education, and more.

You can read the full proposals, and our arguments for them here, and you can sign up for updates on the Where’s Our Democracy? campaign and learn more here.