New directions, economy focused, less departments, more criticism

In a speech at the week-end, Peter Robinson has set out his stall on Executive polices, the economy, administrative structures and the operation of the Assembly. He claims the new Programme for Government will be:

“…a radical change of direction across a whole range of policies from the direct rule administration.”

On the future of public spending and the economy he makes clear that:

“…days of large increases in public spending are not sustainable. We need an economy that creates wealth not merely one that consumes public spending.”

He believes the number of departments can be halved:

“Eleven government departments to administer the province is about twice as many as we need.”

He also criticised the present structures for:

“While I understand that it may be necessary to build confidence in the process before more radical changes can be delivered I hope that change will not be too long delayed. A four party mandatory coalition with no effective opposition is not in the best interests of decision making in Northern Ireland…the community designation system is no basis for tackling community division in the longer term”