Alliance Party Enterprise Spokeperson David Alderdice has said Gordon Brown’s tenth Budget underlines the need for money used on public services to be spent directly on people, rather than wasted on segregating facilities or on unnecessary bureaucracy.
Dr Alderdice, a former Belfast Lord Mayor and current North Down Councillor, stated: “The Chancellor’s projections for public spending have been optimistic in the past and I would suspect they are optimistic again. The outcome will be a further tightening of the belt by the Treasury, particularly in relation to the mammoth subvention currently received by Northern Ireland.
“Currently we receive 29% more public spending per head than Great Britain. Any shortfall in the Chancellor’s medium term projections will be met largely by reducing that gap. For example, if the Government’s plans for spending billions on schools cannot be met, they can simply lift the money out of the Northern Ireland budget without it costing a single vote
- to the detriment of our public services budget.
“This all proves that we are going to have to find a new way to prioritize public spending. This means a reduction in consultations, meetings and public-sector campaigns. But it also means that we can no longer stand idly by while money is wasted on segregated services and facilities. Money is better spent on people, not buildings.
“By integrating public services, such as education establishments, health centres and leisure facilities, we will be able to prioritize government spending in Northern Ireland so that the people of Northern Ireland do not end up paying for the Chancellor’s excesses.
“Let us be clear: if we end up with inferior schools, hospitals and sports grounds, that will be because the other four parties insisted on putting tribal bickering ahead of a real vision for quality public services on behalf of all our people.
“No longer can our own elected representatives continue to shirk this responsibility. The Chancellor and the Prime Minister are not going to prioritize us. It is time we worked something out for ourselves, and made it last.”