Alliance Leader says RPA will be a massive wasted opportunity

Alliance Leader David Ford said that the Review of Public Administration should be an opportunity to provide a world-class local government system, but he said it that considering current plans, it will turn into an opportunity squandered by the Executive. His comments come following the Assembly debate on the RPA today.

David Ford said: “The RPA provides a massive opportunity to deliver a world-class system of local government for local people. Unfortunately it looks like the Executive will throw this golden opportunity away and will fail to live up to people’s expectations yet again.

“We have already seen the massively disappointing Programme for Government and budget which do nothing to improve local services. Now it looks like the RPA may not deliver the structures we need locally.

“The reason for having a review of public administration was to streamline local government, giving Councils a set of coherent and strengthened powers. At present, Ministers appear unwilling to give away any meaningful powers. All we have is a kind of ‘anti wish list’ – Ministers giving away a few awkward tasks that they would prefer to ship off on somebody else.

“It seems that this Executive is power hungry. Unfortunately, their power greed is to the grave detriment of local services.

“It’s quite simple. We need to see local government in charge of a balanced range of local services, using fairly raised local finance. The ‘Emerging Findings’ paper is a long way short of that.

“Reforms of local government cannot however be made in isolation. There need to be a reduction in the number of government departments and we need to see joined-up thinking to create the most effective systems of government from Stormont to local councils. Unfortunately, it looks like the Executive does not have a strategic vision or any ambition to make the right long-term strategic decisions, the difficult decisions.”


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