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McGuinness announces Programme for Government

28 January, 2008

Sinn Féin deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MP MLA has jointly announced the three year Programme for Government and multi billion pound Investment Strategy to the Assembly along with First Minister Ian Paisley.

The Programme for Government and Investment Strategy, which set out the Executives priorities and goals for the next year three years, were placed before the Assembly today for endorsement by its members.

The deputy First Minister said:

"At long last local Ministers are making decisions on behalf of local people. The programme we have laid before the Assembly today has been debated, agreed and endorsed by local Ministers. This Executive is determined to make a difference, the public can be assured that we will drive these plans forward and deliver the goals outlined in this programme."

The programme sets out a number of ambitious targets including:

  • increasing the employment rate from 70% to 75% by 2020,
  • creating a minimum of 6,500 jobs, 85% of which will be above the private sector median wage,
  • ensuring that 68% of school leavers achieve at least 5 GCSE's at grade c or above,
  • reducing the number of children killed on our roads by 50% by 2012,
  • providing free public transport to everyone aged 60 or above,
  • investing over £500 million in regenerating disadvantaged communities by 2012,
  • ensuring that by 2009 no one will wait longer than nine weeks for an outpatient appointment, nine weeks for a diagnostic test and 17 weeks for treatment and
  • reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% below 1990 levels by 2025.

Today's publication follows a period of consultation on the draft Programme for Government published in October last year. During the consultation period over 9,500 people formally responded. This is among the highest response rate of any consultation undertaken in the North of Ireland.

To coincide with the publication of the Programme for Government the Ministers also announced an investment strategy amounting to almost £20 billion of investment in the next 10 years, of which almost £6 billion is earmarked for the first three years.

Mr McGuinness said:

"The Investment Strategy underpins the ambitious goals we have set out in the Programme for Government. We are determined to put right the previous years of under investment and to lay the foundations of our future prosperity."

The strategy includes allocations of £1.8billion to Social Development to proceed with the delivery of 10,000 social and affordable houses over the next five years and an additional £140million to underpin the hospitals modernisation programme.

Mr McGuinness concluded:

"By working together the Executive can begin to build a peaceful fair and prosperous society for everyone." ENDS

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