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Finance minister ‘will not admit defeat’ in funding bid

Conor Murphy on View From Stormont. Credit: UTV

Finance Minister Conor Murphy says he “will not admit defeat” as he bids to improve a funding package from the Government.

The Sinn Féin minister has also ruled out revenue-raising measures, like charging to see GPs.

Mr Murphy said he needs £1.5bn for the next five to seven years, to put Northern Ireland’s public services back on an equal footing.

“We have a very limited suite of fiscal powers available to us,” he said, speaking on View From Stormont.

“As a devolved institution we should be looking for the broadest range possible and then we can align some of those to our Programme for Government commitments to our economic policies, to our policies in terms of growing business and increase prosperity here.

“We can align some of those policies to that and look at what is available to us.

“At the moment we are very, very limited - across rates, and across a few other services, we have a very limited way of raising any public finances at all.

“I made the point last week that we are not some satellite Tory administration, we have our politics and we are determined across the Executive not to punish vulnerable people.”

Last week, the Government announced it would provide £2bn in funding for the newly-restored Executive.

However it later emerged that £1bn of the money was from Barnett consequentials and would have been coming to Northern Ireland anyway.

Mr Murphy has described the package as "woefully inadequate".