“We will be putting the case to Gordon Brown..”

Despite being told previously that “additional contributions should be phased in with domestic households paying two thirds of their full liability in 2009/10 and full liability the year after”, and that

“The Executive accepted the case made by the report that without an uplift in what people currently contribute, other public services would be deprived of funding.”

It now appears that the Northern Ireland Executive, should it meet next week, might defer the introduction of the bill for those additional contributions – there has since been a correction to the figures quoted. [Strand 2 of the review referred to public confidence.. – Ed] According to NI First Minister, the DUP’s Peter Robinson, “it is not credible to place any greater burden on people here in the present dire global economic circumstances.” And Regional Development Minister, Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy, “has been in discussion with the First Minister and Deputy First Minister” and is, apparently, blaming the UK Treasury..

“I have been discussing with some Executive colleagues for the last while some propositions to try to mitigate against what we would need to collect for water. “We have discussed a number of options but of course it is dependent on the Treasury – unfortunately, so much of what we do here depends on the Treasury.”

More In this BBC report. Although it should still need Executive approval.

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  • DC

    Welcome back you guys up at Stormont, Murphy et al: did you have a nice 3 months holidaying?

  • Veritas

    As you well know Conor, EVERYTHING you do here depends on the British Government, under whatever guise.

  • dunreavynomore

    verily thou hast the truth of the matter but connor must pretend otherwise. he who holds the purse strings calls the tune and the purse along with its keeper resides in London.

  • IJP

    Out comes the begging bowl again… “Please Sir, can I have some more?”

    Now tell me, Messrs Robinson, Murphy and co – was capping rates on people whose houses are still worth over half a million thereby transferring the burden to the less well-off really such a good idea? And those populist rates freezes across the board?

    This Executive’s policies have directly contributed to making things worse, not better.

  • barnshee

    “We have discussed a number of options but of course it is dependent on the Treasury – unfortunately, so much of what we do here depends on the Treasury.”

    What a toe rag– already getting more than their share they blame the british tax payer for not giving more?

    Why not put up the rates to fund it? Why not introduce local taxation to fund it? Why not get rid of the huge burden imposed by coucils, assembly “ministers” of “departments” when a similar population (Birmingham) is administered by a man and a dog (metaphorically speaking).

    I know change “Treasury” to Republic of Ireland” on all documents that will sort it.

    What a painful journey of discovery this must be.

  • IJP

    Well said, barnshee.

    Of course, there’s always the £79 million that could be saved by listening to parents and having 5% of segregated schools share facilities; the £180 million it takes to fund an investment agency hardly any businesspeople support; the £15 million set aside for a language academy no one wants – over a quarter of a billion that could be set aside with just a hint of political courage… sorry, did I mention courage…?

  • Toby

    Presumably the Executive will clearly set out the that will be cut if water charges are deferred, on the off chance that Treasury does not cough up the funds and on top of the other issues the English are being asked to fund.

    In terms of the options suggested, savings from costs of division will not be realised in one year and = job cuts, scaling back economic development spend= job cuts, removing rates cap= not much in additional resources.

  • IJP


    Remove the rates cap and the rates freeze and re-divert accordingly?

    Borrow and pay back according to later savings (e.g. £15 million on pointless academies)?

    Admittedly, “if I were going to Ballymena, I wouldn’t start from here…”

  • Toby

    Re: previous post, reference is to the services that will be cut, doh.

    It is also unclear what the dire circumstances are, for those who remember the 1980’s when inflation and unemployment were much higher than even the most pessimistic current forecasts. Indeed, one of the main reasons for the downturn in the global economy was the increase in oil prices, but Brent is now almost to the level when the Budget was agreed in January whilst the fall in house prices should also help- hence why the drastic action or maybe deferring water charges won’t cost so much after all?

  • Toby


    It all depends whether the amounts raised from your suggested approach would be sufficent- my guess would be, not even close, or else why did they decide on the original course? It would also add to household bills which would defeat the purpose intended.

  • DC

    This is classic devolutionary politics whereby the politicians put off bills only to blow holes in other spends, it’s what you call trying to be beneficial and helpful at eye and pocket level.

    This is still a cutting off of their nose to spite their face situation yet, in this case, they are removing one testicle in the hope that no one notices as much while trying to remain potent enough so as to get re-elected, but still there are bound to be vulnerabilities in doing just that.

  • DC

    …Murphy states: ‘The money involved was “a drop in the ocean” compared to the vast sums being spent in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Mr Murphy.’

    Well in reference to Iraq maybe some hoped for democratic stability in Iraq might get some order back into the area getting the oil out easing prices and benefitting that country from revenues.

    About Afghanistan, another terrorist attack would do wonders for the world economy wouldn’t it and also there a multiple coalition of forces are combatting drug supply unlike Sinn Fein and their narco-Farc allies who got trained up for cocaine in return, as alleged by Michael McDowell.

    If it were me, I would look at employment, which roughly speaking around 66% of people here work in the Civil Service, so look at taking from the top and giving to the bottom if possible. Merge grades such as AA-AOs, EOII and EOIs, drop Grade 7s into DP salary, in terms of the DPs and G7s this would act as an encouraging ‘nudge’ to give more thought to going into the private sector (when banks rediscover their liquidity and proper balance sheets), where too these employees could likely excel.

    Combine this move with tackling child poverty, take some hard-headed decisions for once, these employees are probably protected by contracts and pay and conditions; but if the state cannot take action at state level in its own area then I think that’s stupid, because in the private sector it’s you rise and fall with the economic tide. So too the public sector, where economics and pay are clearly linked and should be flexible reflecting the money available in the system during cycles.

    The problem with change is managing it and keeping people motivated by being genuine and open and talking to people about the need for change, but with the DUP-SF hardly talking to themselves quite openly and honestly is this honestly going to happen, let alone keeping people in flux motivated with a degree of confidence about the future…

  • dunreavynomore

    barnshee mentions ‘toe rag’ earlier. that’s a phrase that cause me to wonder on its origin. i know, i know, i’m a saddo but it’s a curious one. is it toe rag in the context of a stinking rag which has been wrapped around feet? is it, as it is often spelt ‘tow rag’ referring to a cheaper standard of cloth made from tow, a product of scutching to get the fibre from flax? is it even simply a racist term of abuse being a corruption of taureg?

  • Toby


    Less than 5% of employment is in the Civil Service whilst only around 40% are in the public sector overall.

  • DC

    You could be right I haven’t researched in full but I know that around 66% is all wrapped up in public sector monies, and the public sector contracts are analogous to terms and conditions linked to the actual civil service contracts.