SDLP Rural Affairs Spokesperson Patsy
McGlone MLA has said that proposed cuts to rural development budgets in the
Department if Finance’s Budget outlook would strip the heart from
communities and set rural development back years.
The Mid Ulster MLA said, “The strong
suspicion from many living in rural communities is that they are seen as an
easy target for cuts. And it’s clearly based on a significant body of
evidence. It’s potholes on rural roads that won’t be filled, it’s rural bus
services that are first to be cut, it’s Infrastructure west of the Bann that
has been neglected for decades.
“New proposals from the Department of
Finance to cut rural community funding adds to that body of evidence. If
these cuts are allowed to go ahead, unchallenged, they will rip the heart
out of communities across the North, deplete services and diminish capacity
within rural areas. That cannot be allowed to happen.
“These organisations are involved in
critical work to develop skills, increase community cohesion, improve
services and develop local areas.
“The SDLP will be stating our firm
opposition to the proposals formally in our submission to the Department and
we’ll continue to support those community networks doing critical work
across the North.”