“another momentous day..”

So the 2008-2011 Draft Programme for Government [Adminstration? – Ed] has been published. The BBC have it here [pdf file]. There are reports on the BBC and on the RTÉ websites which pick out some of the highlights. The investment section [separate pdf file here] seems based on the previously announced Investment Strategy.. so I’ve picked out some of the other declarations of some interest – beyond ‘thinking of the children’, that is – below the fold. Adds As Mark Devenport puts it – “We are swimming in a sea of promises..”On the adminstration of Public Services..

We will:

• Reduce by 25% the administrative burden on farmers and agri-food businesses by 2013.
• Review the overall number of Government departments by 2011.
• Provide a network of one-stop shops to improve access to DARD services by 2011.
• Establish a Library Authority and an Education and Skills Authority by 2009.
• Introduce a single telephone number contact point for public services by 2009.

And the key goals

Key Goals

We will deliver more efficient and effective public services and bring Government closer to the citizen by:

1) Delivering 5% efficiency savings on administration costs each year for the next 3 years for all Government departments.
2) Delivering 3% per annum efficiency savings on departments’ resource budgets and using the Performance Efficiency Delivery Unit to drive higher levels of savings.
3) Generating an extra £1.0bn of capital realisations by 2011 to invest in our infrastructure.
4) Modernising the structure and powers of local government by 2011.
5) Consolidating and streamlining 70% of Government department and agency websites by 2009.

The Northern Ireland Executive’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness is quoted in the BBC report

“This place is truly under new management – and who would have believed how far we have come in so short a time.”

Indeed..

Another report of those promises here

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  • Don’t see what’s so different to New Labour about it all (after all, that’s who sets the overall budget).

    But stuff like the Performance, Efficiency and Delivery Unit is classic New Labour; most Whitehall Departments got one about five years ago. Don’t know that they’ve ever done much useful.

    By the way, that’s not how you spell momentous.

  • Pete Baker

    Corrected, Sammy.

  • Plenty of little jibes in Robinson’s speech aimed at the SDLP. Get over it.

  • Sammy is right – it’s New Labour with the Robinson monotone, bread and circuses from the fatcats.

  • Ballygobackwards

    Yes why don’t you get over it El Mat?

  • protorious

    “The executive wants at least 75% of the new jobs to attract salaries above the local private sector average”

    Ambitious to say the least.

  • Despite the acute housing crisis, the DSD budget is being cut in real terms – see page 51 of the Budget. I know Robinson came up with some waffle about Barnett outworking of DWP money but can he actually spend any of that money on housing?

    Is Margaret Ritchie being punished? Why should the rest of us suffer even if she, wrongly, is? And why did Declan O’Loan welcome a budget that impacts negatively on his own Minister.

    Another thing that struck me, is that we no longer seem to compare our economic performance with the UK average, but with a mysterious creature called the UK, minus the ‘Greater South East’ of England.

    Isn’t this, like, naked shifting of the goalposts?

  • harry

    with regard to mr O Loan not supporting his minister. Do you think any of the MLA actually read in detail all the policy papers and budgets papers etc. Alot of them strike me as not being the brightest pennies.

    some of them i suspect would have difficulty reading the buget never mind hoping to apply their said ideological convictions to one.

  • saveus

    Can someone please explain to me what is in this budget or PFG that is different to what the Brits would have done over the next three years? whooooopee fucking do, we can implement new labour policy just as well as they can!!!

  • slug

    I am glad they have gone for a fairly ambituous light rail project.

  • Cecil

    Can anyone explain why so few UUP MLA’s were present during the budget, particularly the two ministers?

  • Comrade Stalin

    First off, I’m pleased the Executive appear to have overcome the problems, at least to some extent, involving the CTI announcement and the business of the Quinn murder, and are proceeding to get down to business. I am also pleased that the executive has apparently put the economy at the centre of the message.

    Sadly this budget is a bit of a damp squib. There’s not a lot of lean meat here. We’re hearing about all this money to be spent on water, roads and infrastructure, but that all sounds suspiciously like money which was already budgeted and which is being re-announced – it’s not like they suddenly found all these billions somewhere. The targets dotted through the budget are ambitious and it’s good that the government are setting themselves such objectives. But without some solid proposals on how they plan to arrive at these targets, they are meaningless. About the only thing the document says about improving efficiency in the civil service concerns centralizing common administrative services and ICT. They’ll maybe save a few million (after significant initial upfront investment) but it’s not going to be enough to do very much.

    The announcement that the regional rate is to be frozen for three years is clearly a populist stunt. I didn’t see anything about industrial de-rating in there though.

    Secondly, aside from Mark Devenport who (in his blog) is the only one asking whether the Emperor has any clothes, the media here is a complete f***ing farce. UTV droned on about a “popular budget” despite the fact that it contained bugger all of anything solid other than the guarantee not to raise rates. And I’ve just watched Hearts and Minds, who put on two Executive parties with nobody from the opposition. Even an independent figure from a charity or other watchdog would have done, for christ’s sake, but they couldn’t be bothered even with that. Pathetic.

    slug, I see no detail on the light rail project. Where is the info ? All I can see is mention of the e-way. If that is the (mis)guided bus system previously floated, I can tell you now that it is the wrong, wrong way to go on this. I hope that Robinson, and the DRD minister, show some imagination on this rather than being led up the garden path by the anti-rail mandarins in the civil service. I hope they show some balls and give it to the private sector to run, rather than those goofs at Translink. Let’s get the Irish RPA in to tell us how they made the Luas a success.