“In keeping with the Executive’s policy of openness..”

In addition to the draft Programme for Government [Administration – Ed] and the continuation of that draft Investment Strategy, the NI Executive’s Finance minister, the DUP’s Peter Robinson produced a draft Budget, or more accurately a draft of the proposed allocation of resources. You can delve into the detail here [pdf file], should you wish to.. but I’m more interested in the point that, being an administration rather than a government, all these draft proposals are to be subjected to a public consultation process which is due to last until 4th January 2008 – “Your comments will assist the Executive in reaching final decisions on our priorities, programmes and spending proposals.” [Of course they will.. – Ed]Adds It’s almost as if we, the public, are being tasked with the job of being the absent opposition to the Administration because our representatives in the Assembly can’t take on that role themselves.

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  • wild turkey

    “Your comments will assist the Executive in reaching final decisions on our priorities, programmes and spending proposals.” [Of course they will.. – Ed]

    All the various Programmes for Govt (PfG), Budgets, whatever you care to call them, have been subject to consultation (if not necessarily an Equality Impact Assessment under section 75)

    Can anyone out there in consultation land specify one substantive change between the draft PfG/budgets and final PfGs that arose from the, uh, ‘consultation process’?

    answers on a postcard please

  • The Raven

    I deal with consultations all the time, in terms of responding to them. Last year I got so fecked off, after a programme had been agreed that I actually wrote to the DOE, and said “where did you take into account my organisation’s comments?”.

    14 months later, I’m still awaiting a reply.

  • Frank Sinistra

    Pete,

    Can you help with a technical question. Does the Draft Budget represent the Executive position or is it a Ministerial position that the others can credibly distance themselves from?

    The PFG and PSAs are nonsense nu-Labouresque documents but there is some dynamite in the draft budget if the SDLP and SF are lending it credibility.

    Cheers.

    I’ll bring the issues back to Slugger when I’ve finished my reading and digesting.

  • wild turkey

    Frank

    while not claiming total knowledge and instant wisdom, my understanding is that the PfG and associated budget are issued on behalf of the entire executive. Individual departments are not autonomous.

    that said, in terms of departmental bids, OFMDFM and DfP are in the drivers seat with DfP position analogous to that of the UK exchequer with respect to deciding final departmental allocations.

  • steve48

    Given that all we’ve been told about the reduction in resources and cuts is the general amounts without any detailed implications the consultation is a farce.

  • Pete Baker

    Frank

    I thought I heard Peter Robinson say in his speech read statement that it had been passed unanimously by the Executive – which met on Tuesday.

    Although that’s not in the linked statement, which describes the allocations as “the new Executive’s first draft Budget”.. might have to wait for Hansard to confirm.

  • Frank Sinistra

    Thanks all. All I’ll say at this stage is there’s a feckin clanger dropped in there by SF.

  • Paul

    Obviously being the 7th commentee the budget issue has not set the country alight.

    But the most substantial issue is the lack of opposition to all of this. Surely the UUP and SDLP must now quit the executive and form an opposition so that bread and butter issues form the basis of the next election.

    The SDLP and UUP in adopting such a position have the capacity to shift politics a bit away from Orange and Green cards.

  • wild turkey

    Aw c’mon Frank

    I’m tired, still have to get the kids to sleep, up at five am in the morning etc. etc. So Frank, just what is and where is the SF clanger?

    anything to do with ongoing PFI projects in the education sector? just curious… and tired

  • Pete Baker

    wild turkey

    I just had the same thought.

    Frank

    “In addition, two Public Private Partnership (PPP) packages of investment would be progressed in order to achieve reductions in journey times on Key Transport Corridors.”?

  • Pete Baker

    Well, not the same thought.. a similar thought..

  • Frank Sinistra

    Pete, WT,

    Sorry to be a tease. I’ve been discussing it with Mick and hopefully he doesn’t break it as I think it is better served being initially raised through other voices.

    Though it’s pretty embarrassing having to admit I’m a big enough anorak to have actually read the thing.

    BTW: you are both very cold, it’s an entirely new area for SF fuck ups.

  • wild turkey

    Pete

    you couldn’t mean a party with an avowedly ‘socialist’ economic outlook buying into one of the biggest scams and one way bets , sorry scratch that, I mean the effciency driven and cost saving Public Private Partnerships?

    Perish (parish?)the thought…while the consortiums pocket the money

    again, Frank, whats the SF clanger?

  • wild turkey

    ‘it’s an entirely new area for SF fuck ups. ‘

    well fair enough, all the parties on are on a learning curve. it is hearteniing to see all parties, including SF, pushing the envelope.

    I wait with baited breath

    good nite all

  • Pete Baker

    Frank

    “unanimously agreed at the Executive” according to Jeffrey Donaldson.. who wasn’t there..

  • Pete Baker

    Mitchel McLaughlin didn’t contradict him though.

  • Outsider

    Would a budget put forward by Robinson automatically get the support of all the ministers in the executiive just like all the Labour party MPs would support the chancellors budget?

  • I almost chocked on my coffee when I read the title

  • And also, public consultations? Yeah, that would be productive if it weren’t Northern Ireland where any issue can flare up sectarian sentiments (and, it must be said, occasionally feelings of unity) and get turned into a shouting match. Not that public consultations need to be quiet and orderly, but they do need to be consulting a public that accepts itself.