Further efficiencies could affect economic recovery

Session: 2008/2009

Date: 22 April 2009

Reference: FP04/08/09

The Chancellor’s Budget statement could have an unwelcome impact on the local economy. That’s the message from the Chair of the Finance and Personnel Committee, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA who was speaking in advance of the Chancellor’s statement.

Mitchel McLaughlin, MLA said: “This statement could have negative knock-on effects for us, arising from the extra efficiencies required from central government departments in Whitehall.

“The Committee for Finance and Personnel is especially concerned at any potential move way from the negotiated settlement in the last Comprehensive Spending Review, as set out in the Executive’s Budget for 2008 – 2011. The Executive’s Budget already provides for £800 million in cash releasing efficiency savings, which have been removed from departmental budgets for redistribution to frontline services and this presents departments with a significant challenge.”

“Given the special focus on the local economy in the Executive’s Programme for Government, the prospect of further efficiency savings being imposed from Whitehall could undermine the Executive’s efforts to alleviate the current economic difficulties.

“The Committee will be giving careful consideration to the Chancellor’s Statement and has requested a detailed briefing from DFP on the potential effects on the local economy. More generally, the increased emphasis on efficiency savings underscores the role of Assembly scrutiny committees in ensuring that such savings are achieved by true efficiencies and not by crude cuts to frontline services.”

ENDS

Notes for Editors

1. The Committee for Finance and Personnel is one of 11 Statutory Committees of the Northern Ireland Assembly, which are set up to advise and assist each Northern Ireland Minister in the formulation of policy with respect to matters within his/her responsibilities as a Minister. Statutory Committees have powers as described in Strand One of the Belfast Agreement i.e. a scrutiny, policy development and consultation role with respect to the department with which each is associated, together with a role in the initiation of legislation.

2. As per paragraph 9 of Strand One of the Belfast Agreement, Statutory Committees have the power to:

  • consider and advise on departmental budgets and annual plans in the context of the overall budget allocation;
  • approve relevant secondary legislation and take the Committee stage of relevant primary legislation;
  • call for persons and papers;
  • initiate inquiries and make reports; and
  • consider and advise on matters brought to the Committee by its minister.

3. Committee Members:
Mitchel McLaughlin (Chairperson) (Sinn Fein) 
Simon Hamilton (Deputy Chairperson) (DUP)
Dr Stephen Farry (Alliance)
Fra McCann (Sinn Fein) 
Jennifer McCann (Sinn Fein)
David McNarry (UUP)
Adrian McQuillan (DUP) 
Declan O’Loan (SDLP) 
Ian Paisley Jnr (DUP)
Dawn Purvis (PUP)
Peter Weir (DUP)

Media enquiries should be addressed to:
Debra Savage, Press Officer, Press Office, Parliament Buildings, Belfast BT4 3XX

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