Robinson budget ‘will lead to lost lives’…

THE Finance Minister’s budget plans will lead to deaths, according to the Chief Medical Officer, while Northern Ireland’s most senior firefighter, Colin Lammey has said: “If our resources are more thinly spread those response times are going to increase and there’s going to be more deaths and serious injuries.” Last Thursday, Dr Michael McBride warned the Stormont Health Committee that “up to 45,000 women aged over 65 will not benefit from the extension of breast screening until 2010” and that that Northern Ireland’s inclusion in a UK-wide vaccination programme for schoolgirls, due to begin next year, is under threat. And while a cut in the Arts Council budget is unlikely to lead to lives being lost, luvvies will nonetheless be protesting outside Stormont today in the Keep Our Arts Alive rally.

  • bo shank

    Careful Colin, Einsatzgruppenfuhrer Robinson might threaten to pull down the government for that kind of frankly cheeky dissent. I mean who do you think you are, a proffessional who understands the tight constraints you are already operating under and that further cuts put more lives in danger??? You are wrong, der fuhrer is der fuhrer and he know what is best.

  • Mark McGregor

    At the Belfast consultation on the draft budget and PfG which was packed by luvvies, an elderly woman responded to their concerted efforts to set the agenda with; I like art but I know people that can’t afford to paint their houses.

    btw: I hear these consultations are shambolic and everyone leaves with a feeling of having attended a farce

  • steve48

    Interesting also is that the press are refusing to cover the DUP’s solution to the lack of resources in the Dept of Health. At the last health committee meeting the Chairperson Iris Robinson asked the Minister to explain who have overturned a 1998 decision to close the Mater Hospital on the basis that 3 hospitals in the centre of Belfast was too many (one could ask why she didn’t throw in the fourth in East Belfast). She has also asked that the new hospital in Enniskillen be shelved as well as development in Downpatrick.

    Given that her colleague Nigel Dodds led the fight to keep the Mater open and that Arlene will want the hospital in Enniskillen is the press so well marshalled by Timmy that not even a squeak of dissent on policy issues in the party is allowed to smell the oxygen of publicity.

  • Ahem

    Good-o, the mendicants are out with the begging bowls, and armed with *such* conclusive arguments too! Using their inexorable logic, that the cuts [sic] stated above will lead ineluctably to the deaths hilariously deduced above, why not do what the molochs of the public sector unions really should be arguing for? If cutting [sic] ‘X’ [X being any reduction in merely the expoential growth of expenditure] from any public ‘service’ budget leads to DEAD BABIES ON OUR STREETS [or, insert absurdist scare story of moloch’s choice], then shouldn’t the addition of ‘Y’ [this being the wage-inflation fuelled riot of unjustified extra expenditure moloch Unions habitually claim for] equally quantifiably lead to a reduction in DEAD BABIES ON OUR STEETS? In other words, if these nonces can assert with all apparent sincerity that ‘less money = equal more dead’, why don;t they follow through on their amusing fantasy and tell us quite how much ‘more money = fewer to zero dead’? What a bunch of jokers. If the Punt does anything, making this place’s infantilised political culture grow up even fractionally will be an A1 Good Thing.

  • Turgon

    There are very difficult decision to be made in the budget on many issues.

    It does look as if the budget is too small for health and as such criticisms of Robinson are valid.

    However, McGimpsey must take some blame for making no decisions. To scrap the four health boards would have saved a little money (admittedly not much) but could have been done with little political pain.

    Although I am no DUP supporter I am actually pleased if Iris Robinson is advocating changes such as closing hospitals.

    This is only going to be a long term solution as we would need more beds at the remaining hospitals. However, we do need fewer hospitals than we have now. There are economies of scale to having larger hospitals (though not if they get too big). Reducing the number of hospitals would save money which could be spent on improving services. This has already been done in GB frequently in rural areas with no better road networks than we have.

    Of course the fact that no one will accept their local hospital being closed is the main problem. I am sure Dodds and Foster would fight like mad for their respective hospitals. I am sure steve48 is quite right as to why we have not heard much about it; Iris will hardly be shouting this one from the rooftops. This is of course just one of the problems we have with devolution; the excessively parochial nature of our government.

  • Mark McGregor


    Are you reading different articles? It wasn’t Unions making the claims – The Chief Medical Officer and Chief Medical Officer.

    Is the rest of your comment based on such a basic misunderstanding of the story?

  • Mark McGregor

    should be …and Chief Fire Officer.

  • Ahem

    Yes, I can read, thanks. The arguments the CMO and Lammey are using are turgid, Union-derived nonsense. Either you believe that ‘cutting £X leads to Y-deaths’ (and so adding sufficient £ should, by the same reasoning, eventually lead to Zero deaths), or you see them for the absurd, self-serving ‘public sector’ grasping they are. You can certainly accuse me all you like of conflating Lammey and the CMO with nominally separate Trade Unions – *I am*. For I can see absolutely no meaningful difference between their supposedly different takes on the public purse. Namely, gimmee, gimmee, gimmee! Robinson is entirely right to require rather better arguments for spending yet more public monies than the risible ones employed above.

  • Clonakilty

    Hmmm. senior civil servants demand more money for their departments. Move on folks, nothing to see here!

  • interested

    Any information from the good undertaker as to where on his priority list he placed the Fire & Rescue Service and the other services where not getting shed-loads of cash thrown at them will lead to these dead bodies.

    It would seem that there is absolutely no part of the Health Service in Northern Ireland which can currently function. Just how much cash does he want by the way to prevent these dead bodies from being piled up on the streets? 100% of the budget perhaps?

    Mind you it was also interesting to hear the UUP’s latest suggestion for funding the Health Service from their spokesman this morning. He advocated cutting funds to sports to support health. Now that’s a far-sighted approach for you……

  • interested

    Senior Civil Servants wanting more money to waste on administration is about as surprising as the Unions demanding more money (to be followed up by the inevitable demand for a pay-rise to their members).

    For all the demands for the politicians to grow up in Northern Ireland it would seem that not all of the politicians have managed to do that growing up in terms of actually taking decisions in Government and a lot of the general public seem to be on the Oliver Twist end of things too..

  • Aquifer

    Money saves lives, but how much money for which lives? Road accidents, diesel fumes, Ovarian breast and lung cancer, heart disease, the cold, addiction, plain old poverty. Price them up Pete, lets have value.

  • The Dubliner

    “The Executive is committed to delivering the economic vision of an innovative, entrepreneurial, wealth-generating, export-oriented economy. To achieve this we need to ensure that policies are in place which will encourage private sector growth and expansion. For too long the local private sector has been constrained by the influence of the Northern Ireland public sector. Now is an opportune time to change the focus of economic policy.” – Peter Robinson

    Given that public spending as a share of GDP for Northern Ireland is already an astonishing 71.3% in Northern Ireland, demands to increase public spending are both insane and obscene.

    Peter Robinson is on the right track, but he must have the most frustrating job in NI. He has the vision but he is handicapped by a bunch of spoon-fed “I Love My Nannystate” parasites in the Executive who seem to think that wealth is something that is created in a magic mint in England and shipped to Northern Ireland in armoured trucks, and so the only art to earning it is in screaming loudly for more of it to be shipped over ASAP.

    I don’t see how Peter Robinson can deliver reforms outside of a system of administration that allows ‘government’ to take executive decisions, especially unpopular but necessary ones. Consensus reinforces stagnation. Then he can start cutting public spending by cutting public sector workers, forcing them into the private sector rather than have the public sector competing with the private sector for talented people by offering higher wages and better conditions for jobs that are an invention of the state, etc.

    Getting rid of the parasitic mentality will be a considerable challenge to a culture that is reinforced by NI’s plethora of self-serving socialists telling people that they are entitled to state-dependency as a birthright, and so have no need to tend to their own financial needs in society.

  • Jo

    Has anyone ever sat down and worked out the actual percentage of public spending that is represented by public sector jobs?

    Example: 30,000 civil servants paid an average £22,000 = £660 million. (£0.66 billion)

    Sack EVERY last one of them and you’ll save a
    massive 4% on public spending. (2008 figures of £16 bn.)

    Of course…that means you’ve no-one to implement the capital and other expenditure, but sure, don’t let that minor detail stand in the way of your ideology: public bad, private good.

  • joeCanuck

    Many years ago, in an outfit I worked for, at our initial budget meeting for the following year, the CEO walked in, sat down, said “Next year there will be a 10% cut in all operational budgets. I want a plan on my desk in 4 weeks from each Department Head as to how he will achieve it (it was all “Hes”). Meeting adjourned”.
    Amazingly, the following year we did achieve a 3% reduction.