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December 5, 2016
Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has called on the Executive to clarify whether the Assembly will be recalled to deal with the forthcoming Executive Budget.
Mr Dickson said recent speculation the Assembly would be recalled in the next fortnight over the Budget had led to uncertainty among parties and the public. He added while the Budget should be scrutinised, it should happen within the regularly scheduled Assembly timetable.
"This is the last week of business before the Assembly goes into recess for the Christmas period," said East Antrim MLA Mr Dickson.
"It would therefore make much more sense for any outstanding business, such as the forthcoming Budget from the Executive. However, there has been much talk around Parliament Buildings to expect a recall of the Assembly in the next two weeks to discuss the Budget.
"Such a recall is only applicable in relation to urgent business. As everyone is now fully expecting the Assembly to be recalled, surely the urgent nature is no longer relevant in this situation. The Finance Minister would be better placed to bring forward the Budget this week, while all the MLAs, Assembly staff and others are here, without the need for an expensive recall.
"If a recall happens, the Executive should make it a full day of business and allow items such as David Ford's private member's bill on fatal foetal abnormalities to be moved, alongside a full debate on the Budget, so we can give the taxpayer their money's worth.