“£9.7 billion? Well that is truly staggering…”

BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport notes a charmless and, at best, disingenuous party political response to criticism of the “motherhood and apple pie” aspirations of OFMDFM.  From the Devenport Diaries

Sinn Fein’s Martina Anderson is not impressed by some of the carping she has heard from community relations types about the latest Stormont CSI strategy. She wonders “how much of that is genuine or how much of it is about protecting their own positions and funding. There are a raft of good relations quangos out there which, quite frankly, are unelected, unnecessary and ineffective. Sectarianism and intolerance are still rife in our society so I have to ask just what exactly have these organisations delivered?”

Ms Anderson goes on to warn the quangos their days might be numbered, pointing out that “in the 2008-09 financial year, a staggering £9.7 billion was spent on unelected quangos in the North. That’s around 75% of the total budget being spent on largely unaccountable organisations and clearly that cannot and should not be sustained. Sinn Féin is committed to reducing this kind of waste and to cutting the number of quangos. In the context of an agreed Executive CSI strategy, many of these good relations quangos could be redundant and should be abolished.”

Do read the whole thing.

Because, if it wasn’t disingenuous, it looks like it’s not just “the Brits [who] are too thick to tell the difference between sound social science and yet another dodgy dossier.”

And Mark’s done some further digging around those ‘staggering’ figures

Sinn Fein don’t spell out which quangos they want to chop but if you are looking at the shared future business you would have to think the NI Community Relations Council would be high on the list. So I decided to check out their budget. According to the CRC’s statement of accounts for 2008/9 they had a turnover of just over £8 million, spending £20,000 more than they received. I’m told two thirds of this money was devoted to Victims and Survivors, leaving £3.25 million for community relations.

£3.25 million. That’s about £2 per head of the population here, and compares with an estimated £2 million spent on combatting one night of rioting earlier this month. True, the Community Relations Council did have a role in distributing a further £14 million. However this wasn’t Executive cash, but funding from outside sources like Europe and the IFI.

Whichever way you look at it the CRC budget is a long way short from that rather inflated £9 billion plus figure for quangos, which includes our quasi-autonomous non-governmental hospitals.

And how was your 20th Century, Martina?