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Sinn Fein welcome extra spending on Education

23 January, 2008

Sinn Féin's education spokesperson Paul Butler, has welcomed Executive agreement on the Budget, Programme for Government and Investment Strategy and particularly agreement that equality mechanisms, the Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) process, would by used to determine future funding and policy decisions.

The extra funding announced for the Education and Employment and Learning Departments is good news for the education and further and higher education sectors

Paul Butler said:

"I welcome the additional £11 million for the Department of Education for schools specializing in STEM subjects (Science, technology, Engineering and Maths). The increase spending on education by almost £400 million a year by 2010-11 compared to 2006-7 will go a long way to help all our children reach their full potential.

"The £40 million allocated to the Department of Employment and Learning to fund cross border university research and support and the provision of additional PhD science studentships will help in delivering the skills necessary to bring about a better qualified and highly skilled workforce.

"Sinn Féin engaged in intensive discussions with the DUP about shaping the substance of these key policies - including addressing the shortcomings in departmental allocations.

"Sinn Fein is determined to achieve progress in relation to Youth Services and Early Years Childcare. We are confident that there will be progress in these areas - in terms of additional expenditure for children. However, we still have major concerns about the reliance on PFI/PPP type solutions and projections based of efficiency savings and realising assets.

"The reliance on PFI/PPP's to deliver the new schools building programme is of particular concern. Balmoral High School in Belfast delivered through the PFI/PPP process will close later this year and is a clear example of how this system has failed. Taxpayers will have to pick up the costs of this failure for the next 20 years." ENDS

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