Page last updated at 11:20 GMT, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 12:20 UK

UUP call for policing test period

Sir Reg Empey
Sir Reg Empey's UUP wants a new budge review committee set up

The Ulster Unionist Party is calling for a five-year financial testing period before policing and justice powers are devolved to Stormont.

In a newly published document, Putting Things Right, the party calls for the implementation of measures to tackle the economic downturn.

The paper includes a call for a new assembly budget review committee.

The UUP also accuses Sinn Fein and the DUP of engaging in an axis of denial over the financial crisis facing NI.

The party questions the ability of the two parties to negotiate a financial package to underpin the transfer of policing and justice powers.

It said the potential shortfalls in the financing of these powers should be tested over five years in a programme where powers are rolled out and financial pitfalls are tested.

Only then, it said, should the powers be fully transferred.

Veto

The party also called for devolved assemblies to have more say in banking policy given that the Treasury has had to bail out some banks.

It said Stormont needed to urgently reprioritise the programme for government.

The SDLP's Alex Attwood said the UUP were in effect trying to veto the devolution of policing and justice.

He said: "When Peter Robinson said on July 7 that all the party leaders in the Assembly would have to agree on community confidence before devolution of justice powers occurred he was sharing his veto over the timing of that devolution with the UUP.

"Today the UUP has given its response.

"The UUP will find it hard to pull back from this and Peter Robinson's view appears to be that he won't jump without the UUP.

"That's the political significance and damage of the UUP position."



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