SDLP identify an extra £400 million…

One thing that seems to mark both the Ulster Unionists and the SDLP is a certain timidity in marking out their separate policy ground from the two incumbent parties… Yet the SDLP today made some bold suggestions on where to find extra monies… (we’ve been expecting a finance paper from the DUP for some days now, so they may have been ‘waiting to see’, before publishing theirs)… It makes for interesting reading (though they could have been bolder and broken with the stultifying consensus on subsidising rates and water rates from an already stretched public purse)… Especially Chpater three: where they plan to get the money from

Update: Bobballs has some useful thoughts on this

Going back to the ugly platypus simile (the platypus, not the simile), this ugly jumble of forest and car park fire-sales (which will net little value), PFI schemes for the Housing Exec HQ (anyone told John Dallat) and tired old guff about comfortable old Sir Humphrey may not attract admiring glances from policy wonks. But I’m more struck by the SDLP’s courage of articulating a constructive alternative vision.

– Housing Executive re-profiling its debt they reckon could release £70 million…

– Persuading the Port of Belfast to voluntarily reallocate £30million to the Titanic Signature Project, allowing the Executive to extricate that sum for its own purposes.. £30 million

– Invest NI to be raided for £15million per year for two years…

– And a plan to build a stadium in Belfast…

– Sale of 6% of the Forest Service Estate in year one and a further 6% in year two could be sold off at a profit of around £36million.

– Sale and lease back of the Housing Executive head quarters: £16-17million capital…

£400 million, is a fair whack of cash…withdraw the rates subsidy and you’d be able to pay off Brown’s demands for pay back and cover a lot of the current short fall…

We can thank our lucky stars our people are not having to steer the ship through the deeper waters of the international bond markets…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty