Executive’s £2billion black hole

Today’s papers report the SDLP’s verdict on the Executive’s performance to date. The party has also claimed the black hole in Northern Ireland’s budget will grow to more than £2bn by 2011 (details below the fold).

This from the Bel Tel:

The ‘report card’ from the party, whose sole representative on the Executive is Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie, is severely critical of the level of achievement and performance — and makes unfavourable comparisons to the last power-sharing regime which they headed with Ulster Unionists.

Additional pressures on the budget over the next two years:

£ million £ million £ million
2009/10 2010/11 2 year total
Public Expenditure Developments

Deferral of water charges* -400 -400 -800
Treasury fine for deferral of water charges* 0 -200 -200
Freeze on regional rates† -40 -40 -80
Housing Executive house and land sales -100 -100 -200
Non-sale of Crossnacreevy -200 0 -200
Civil Service equal pay claims -200 -80 -280
Capital Asset Realisation Taskforce income -£200 – -200

2009 Treasury budget implications

Efficiency savings required by Chancellor 0 -123 -123

TOTAL SHORTFALL -1140 -943 -2083

  • fair_deal

    Margaret Ritchie voted for the deferral of water charges at the Executive. Perhaps the SDLP will consider this ‘blackhole’ when they back MR to the hilt when she demands more money for whatever has taken her fancy this week.

  • tkbytesback

    Water Charges deferrals will come back to haunt all parties. As will the freeze on rates and the freebie to the manfacturing industry. No party disagreed with any of these measures so its a bit rich to criticise these as failings, noting too that the failure to sell houses in the current climate is hardly the Executive’s fault. This is just more immature opportunism.

  • andrew white

    even worse when you take the conservatives budget 10% cut into the equation

    are the UUP and SDLP opposed to water charge deferrals and a freeze on the regional rate?

  • couldn’t comment – shouldn’t

    Rreality check – all NI politicians are “scared” of their voters, all NI voters are only interested in themselves – therefore no political bravery or willingness to take hard decisions.

    In summary we are selfish cowards and we don’t deserve to run our own country

  • brendan,belfast

    Is the SDLP, in making this argument, saying that water charges should not have been deferred?

  • keithbelfast

    speak for yourself ‘couldn’t comment – shouldn’t’ – only last week i dumped a bin liner full of old worn-out football kits in to my local oxfam shop.

  • Peter Fyfe

    I thought they were highlighting the fact we can not go on with fingers in our ears and eyes closed and pretend nothing is wrong. The SDLP were looking for the executive to have a relook at the budget for quite some time. They may wrongly have thought this release may allow people to realise a finance minister may be better examing the economy of Northern Ireland than picking sham fights with the ROI over a firesale that was never going to happen.

  • Is it me or what

    The SDLP have always claimed that they are not opportunistic and that the people are the ones who matter, no playing of politics by our good friends in the straight talkin SDLP—-as this example of speaking out of both sides of their mouths clearly shows!


    SDLP councillors Gary Stokes and Josephine O’ Hare are to put a motion to Newry and Mourne District asking the council to form a group comprising of elected representatives, local members of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, local business organisations, and any other relevant interested parties to explore the possibility of bringing Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann to this area in or before the year 2012.

    Commenting on the motion Councillor Stokes said:

    “Earlier in the year SDLP MLA Dominic Bradley held talks with Comhaltas Director General Senator Labhras Ó Murchú on the possibility of the Fleadh coming to the North. We have received very positive signals from Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann that a venue for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in the North would be very much welcomed. After this year’s All-Ireland Fleadh Senator Ó Murchú again indicated that he thought that the time is right for the Fleadh to come north.

    “Now is the time to begin the process of advancing Newry as a suitable location for the Fleadh and the SDLP motion is aimed at establishing a group which would bring forward the project.”

    Councillor O’ Hare added:

    “Traditional music is a shared aspect of our cultural heritage and there is every possibility that the Fleadh could act as a platform for all strands of tradition here. As well as that the Fleadh offers a tremendous opportunity to market the area as a tourist venue not only on an all-island basis but at international level as well. The Fleadh offers the opportunity to promote our area and the formation of this group will be the first step in that direction. We should grab that opportunity.”

    Patsy McGlone 2nd September 2009

    Cookstown SDLP Call on Council to Lobby for Fleadh Cheoil

    SDLP Councillors in Cookstown are asking the Council to lobby Comholtas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCE) to hold next year’s Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in the local area. The motion to Council is signed by SDLP Cllrs Mary Baker, Peter Cassidy, James McGarvey, Patsy McGlone & Tony Quinn.

    SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone, said the news that Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCÉ) is considering holding the all-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil at a northern venue offers new opportunities to promote our rich cultural tradition, and would provide a much needed boost to the local economy.

    Mr McGlone said: “The recent statement from CCÉ Director General Senator Labhras Ó Murchú will be warmly welcomed by all lovers of Irish music and culture. My party colleague, Culture, Arts and Leisure spokesperson PJ Bradley called for just such a move earlier this year. More recently, an ad hoc cross-border group of elected representatives met with Senator Ó Murchú and the leadership of CCÉ to discuss the idea.

    “Previous Fleadhanna, including this year’s event, the 59th Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, held in Tullamore, County Offaly, for the third year in a row, have attracted 200-250,000 people to the area. All of Mid Ulster would benefit from the boost such a large number of visitors would give to our local economy.

    “It would indeed be a great achievement if the all-Ireland Fleadh could be held in the Mid Ulster area, but this is not just a matter of the millions of pounds that the Fleadh can inject into our local economy. The Fleadh Cheoil is now a major international cultural event and the organisers have developed great skill and expertise in making it a genuinely inclusive event and the time is right to bring that spirit of inclusiveness to the north.

    “Traditional music in particular has never lost its ability to act as a bridge between the two communities here because it is virtually impossible to draw a firm line between its Scottish and Irish origins. The music of the Ulster-Scots tradition is a tremendous repository of our common musical culture and a northern Fleadh would present a great opportunity to recognise it as such. When musicians of both sides get together they will both know the tunes and hopefully find new harmonies.”


    Notes to Editors –
    Motion to Council:
    “That Cookstown Council lobby for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann to be hosted in the Mid Ulster Area.
    Cllrs Mary Baker, Peter Cassidy, James McGarvey, Patsy McGlone & Tony Quinn”

  • I like Brendan Belfast’s question. Interesting that no one sees fit to answer it. Pointing up the cost of deferring of water charges as a failure of the Executive is odd, unless you feel that the charges should have been / should be introduced.

    So what’s it to be? Is the SDLP for water charges or just for issuing statements about them?

    And the kids running it wonder why no one takes the SDLP seriously?

  • Whatever

    Surely the question is what will SF and the DUP do about Water Charges. They are in control and the sad reality from an SDLP perspective is that the levers are not in SDLP hands.
    What the paper highlights is the seriousness of the public finance crisis.
    Don’t blame the SDLP for brining that to the public’s attention.
    Funny you should say the SDLP is full of young ones. Many other detrators say its full of oldies!


  • Peter Fyfe

    Is it me or what

    Is what you are highlighting not a case of elected representitives of local areas trying to do the best by their local areas by encouraging the Fleadh to visit them? I know they are both SDLP motions but would you rather elected representitives looked after there own party or the areas they represent first?

    Whatever happened to the SDLP?

    * The SDLP is still absolutely opposed to Water charges while DUP/SF are preparing the
    ground for their introduction.

    Unfortunately for Conall he failed to include this, that’s what the star referred to. So as I have already stated above I assume this is a plea to look at the budget again and see what is realistic now.

  • Peter Fyfe

    I had not refreshed in a while, I am playing some Football Manager as well. Just in case anybody is interested, I am sitting second with Wigan just after Christmas. I see from Conall’s last post I was not very far off the mark.

  • andrew white

    conall, are the SDLP in favour of water charges, yes or no.

    why dont they have a position on this?

  • Peter Fyfe

    Andrew white

    I highlighted the line in the document saying the SDLP are still opposed to the introduction of water charges. What more do you need?

  • Peter Fyfe

    The SDLP welcomes the rate relief passed onto householders and understands the
    importance of finding the means to prevent the introduction of water charges, however
    we believe the best and only sustainable way to manage the additional spending
    pressures listed above, and others that may come, is to incorporate them into a new

    That was the next paragraph in the policy document, it may make the SDLP’s position on water charges even clearer.

  • Peter & Conall

    Thanks for trying to explain, but it still doesn’t make sense to me.

    How is anyone to take the SDLP seriously if they’re saying they are against water charges, but happy to sit in an Executive which,as you claim, is preparing the ground for their introduction.

    Worse, saying you’re against water charges without any plan for finding the hundreds and hundreds of millions needed to delay them is either politically immature or dishonest.

    Neither is an attractive trait for people deciding who can be trusted to run this country.