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DSD failing to manage budget and forward plan effectively.

15 January, 2009 - by Fra McCann

Sinn Fein MLA Fra McCann has raised serious concerns over the ability to manage budgets and forward plan by the Department of Social Development. This follows the Committee for Social Development meeting with the Minister, Margaret Ritchie, and senior civil servants.

Speaking today Mr McCann said:

"Following today's Social Development Committee meeting there are serious concerns surrounding the ability of the Department for Social Development to manage their budgets and forward plan effectively.

"We all know there is not a limitless amount of money to spend but the fact that over the past year Margaret Ritchie has returned over £90 million to the central pot highlights that her spending and budget is not being adequately managed.

"Margaret Ritchie needs to prioritise spending within her department in order to deliver the most effective way forward and not allow her senior civil servants to state that they cannot forward plan for housing new builds when they don't know where the money is coming from.

"Instead a proactive and creative approach should have been adopted for example examining how much land DSD can free up for housing. Certainly the department has a vast amount of land to that could be released cutting house building cost dramatically as the highest proportion of cost for new build is the cost of land.

"The simple fact is this should not be an issue now. All departments were aware of an economic downturn six months ago when DSD were handing money back. Had foresight and proper budgetary management prevailed then there would now not be such a housing crisis." ENDS

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