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Alliance to call for changes to spending rules to prioritise green investment

The party’s manifesto will also press for fresh Government funding for integrated education in Northern Ireland.

Leader of the Alliance party, Naomi Long, speaking to the PA news agency at the Stormont Hotel in Belfast

Government spending rules must be changed to free up funding to tackle climate change, the Alliance Party has said.

Reform of Treasury fiscal rules to allow for investment in a green new deal is one of the key policy objectives outlined in Alliance’s manifesto.

The party will also call for the Government to commit more funding to integrated education in Northern Ireland when it unveils its manifesto – Leading Change – on Thursday.

In urging changes to fiscal rules, the party argues that current pressures on public spending are preventing strategic investment on issues such as climate.

Alliance wants these spending limits revised to ensure money can be directed toward investing in policies to address global warming.

It argues that inaction on climate change is already costing the global economy trillions of pounds, and increased spending in that area would protect the environment as well as unlocking investment and job creation in the green economy.

In terms of integrated education, Alliance’s call for a new injection of funding comes after the UK Government re-profiled £150 million earmarked for the sector in the 2015 Fresh Start deal.

In this year’s deal to restore devolution, it removed the ringfenced protection for that cash and instead allowed the Stormont Executive to spend how it saw fit.

Alliance claims that decision has seen the integrated sector lose out on much needed capital investment in new buildings. As such, it calls for a further Government funding commitment.

Previewing the manifesto launch, party leader Naomi Long said current fiscal rules “reinforce climate inaction” in the UK.

“The Leading Change manifesto is not standalone but dovetails with previous Alliance publications, setting out our policy priorities for the next five years over issues which Westminster has direct control or influence,” she said.

“Alliance is already leading change in a number of areas, including better health outcomes, making communities safer, expanding integrated education and delivering affordable childcare.

“We are also working to combat climate change, promote a greener and cleaner environment, and create a dynamic and vibrant economy.

“That includes our proposals to change the UK Government’s fiscal rules, to better reflect the huge cost associated with climate inaction.

“It would also unlock vital investment in our public services, as well as incentivise investment in our infrastructure and skills.

“Without this reform, current UK fiscal policy inhibits investment, reinforces climate inaction and stores up environmental, social and financial crises for the future.”

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