Naomi Long MP said: “It’s very important that we deliver the most effective and efficient system of government possible. It has been the view of Alliance for some time that a reduction in the number of MLAs and departments could not only help deliver financial savings, but could also make Government function more effectively.
“Our vision for good government and value for money in Northern Ireland would mean more joined-up working and fewer silos. A reduction in the number of government departments could play an important part of making that happen.
“The structures of Government and bureaucracy cannot be immune from consideration when it comes to seeking out savings and so a reduction in the number of MLAs and Departments must at least be investigated as we face up to the challenges of potentially serious budget cuts. It is rash for any political party to rule out even looking at such reductions. Every other part of society will be expected to take some of the pain, and it would be unthinkable if those charged with making difficult decisions which affect others were unwilling to apply the same approach when it affects themselves. If we are to do this seriously, however, it cannot be another RPA, where money is spent planning for major change which is then suspended.
“The streamlining of government is important but the other parties must also remember that the savings that could be made in this area would pale into insignificance compared to the savings we could make if we tackled the cost of division in our society.”