Scrapping plan for on-street parking charges across NI leaves £8.8m hole

As the BBC reports, Northern Ireland Regional Development Minister, the UUP’s Danny Kennedy, has shelved his predecessor, Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy’s, plans to extend on-street parking charges to 30 towns and cities across Northern Ireland.  Leaving a £8.8million hole in his budget.  From the BBC report

The minister now has an £8.8m hole in his budget because of the projected revenue lost from on-street parking.

He said this would have to be plugged by making cuts in other areas.

“Given the pressures in all areas of my budget, this is a very difficult task,” he added.

“However, I am determined to minimise, as far as possible, the impact on frontline services in my department.”

Mr Kennedy said he would offset the shortfall by £2m by creating greater efficiency within his department.

A further £2m would be saved by reducing the operation expenditures of the Roads Service.

He said £2.1m would come from off-street parking charges in provincial towns, and on-street charges in some cities, and £2.7m would be collected from a reduction in the subsidy paid to Translink.

Another example of ducking the difficult decisions?  Perhaps.

A cynic might say that the proposals were only there to appear to balance the budget in the first place.

And why was that “projected revenue” included in the department’s budget when there was to be a proposed consultation, and the-then Minister was telling retailers that the plan was “not set in stone”?