Post-primary reforms to be “cost-neutral”?

Judging by Stephen Farry’s performance on Stormont Live [BBC iPlayer] today the Alliance Party remains a party in opposition to the Budget, even if Mark Devenport thinks other opposition is vanishing. But it’s the SDLP’s Mark Durkan who points to a potential problem in the budgetting ahead. In an apparent reference to events in the Assembly, he says that the Finance minister told him today that, on the issue of post-primary reforms in the Education system, “the Minister for Education is saying that her proposals will be cost-neutral” [approx 1min 30s into clip below] – the Assembly’s Education Committee might be interested in hearing that..

Adds From the Assembly’s official report

Mr P Robinson: …It was as much the case when I was in local govern­ment as it is now that all that any Budget ever does is to provide the best judgement that an individual can make of what expenditure is likely to be during that Budget period.

That is all that we can do with regard to education. What the end process will be is still not clear, although the Minister of Education has indicated that many of the reforms that she has in mind are cost-neutral. However, the view of many Members is that to change the ages of schools will have a considerable impact, particularly on the capital budget for schools. Those are issues that the Executive will have to take into account and, in doing so, must take into account the parameters of the Budget.

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  • dublinsfsupporter

    Mark Durkan probably coming on saying this type of thing because he realises he is in danger at the next Westminster election—as Sinn Féin’s Martina Anderson is making an impact locally in Derry as a highly effective constituency MLA. Watch this space.

  • you must be joking

    Dublin SF – get a grip! Durkan’s every utterance based on a concern about Anderson! What did he do before her arrival, what 2 years ago?

    I live in the Foyle constituency and see no impact from her. The cavalcade summed her up – stunt politics.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    Try to address the actual topic.

    Rather than playing the man.. or woman.

  • I think it’s safe to say that Dub there is as out of touch with things up here in the North as his party are with things in the South.

    Moving swiftly on. It’d be no great shock, I’m sure, if I said that I’m fully behind what Stephen Farry said especially regarding the Alliance’s favourite subject the Cost of Living In A Segregated State report, there is a possible £1.5 billion for Robbo to play with if he and his Sinn Fein colleagues pulled their fingers out.

  • DC

    I think the education debate is key and should be skipped until the next programme for government, in order to facilitate appropriate co-ordination across the education sector while getting things costed. This I think is likely to be a massive stumbling block for Sinn Fein, potentially a very costly one both in terms of votes and indeed cash if not got right from the start.

    Besides that, is the issue of energy which is quickening pace beyond all expectations particularly as we only have, according to scientists, 8 or so years to get energy sorted out along more sustainable lines.

    No better encouragement for a shared future than the threat of no future and better reason to bring in savings from community realignment around accessible and cohesive service provision to help save cash for more expensive renewable / sustainable sources, etc.

    The key to this will be ensuring that Ireland is fully alongside in this exploration of new all-Ireland options.

    The liberalisation of European supplies too would greatly help particularly if they were to diversify away from the fossil option. So I am all for the EU-treaty btw and against battling for vital resources via disparate political channels.

    The DUP are focusing on the economy to try and make amends for the 10 years wasted, spent spoiling the same political house they grew up in; but, perhaps, they, the DUP, will be answerable to the electorate for that wasted growth period if things become really tough economically further down the line.

    That decade wasted only becomes so stark now because the tide has turned drastically; perhaps by now we could all be talking in unison about energy, with reform of both public services and economic structures cleared out of the way, or at least having had every possible step taken via the Assembly’s own powers.

  • Crataegus

    DC I agree with your sentiment about 10 wasted years.

    The reasons for the Fed rate cut are one’s to worry about. Economically we are heading into less predictable times and the local economy is in very poor shape. The concept that people have to earn money before government departments spend it is slow to take root.

    This is the time of year when civil servants are ringing to advise you haven’t lodged your tax assessment yet, a bit premature but again a good indication of the (UK) government’s need for money.