Programme for Government

Programme for Government - Councillor Brian Wilson - North Down At a time when we are cutting out education and health service it is grossly irresponsible to waste £150 million on the proposed Reform of Local Government. 

The Programme for Government the decision of the executive to go ahead with the reform of local government is incredible. Has no-one read the PWC report? To proceed at present is a classic case of ignoring the financial facts and pressing forward with proposals which have been totally undermined by the evidence.

To proceed with the 11 council model is not only irrational but it will fail to achieve any of the original objectives of the RPA. In the present economic climate it is irresponsible to spend £150m (on PWC figures) up front and look forward to some questionable savings over the next 25 years. Neither the Councils nor the Department can justify such expenditure particularly at a time when other services including Education and Health are being cut.

The 11 Council model will not achieve any of the original aims coterminosity, the transfer of significant new powers to local government, the recruitment of new more professional councillors and in particular make significant savings for the ratepayers.

The meagre savings identified by the PWC report could easily be met by efficiency savings and closer cooperation’s between existing councils. Planning could easily be transferred to the 26 councils with minimum disruption using the Group system.

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