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McLaughlin calls for protection of frontline services in efficiency measures

15 June, 2009

Speaking in the Assembly today on spending and efficiency savings, Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (South Antrim) said:

“For Sinn Féin, tackling the economic and fiscal crisis is a key priority for the Assembly and the Executive. At a time of economic crisis, it is even more critical that those who are most disadvantaged and in the greatest need are given additional help and assistance. My party recognises that the Executive has been very alive to that priority.

“Given the efficiency savings pressures that exist — including those that are being proposed by the British Chancellor and Treasury — there is a need for an all-party commitment to defending front line public services. Sinn Féin supports greater efficiency savings, but such savings should be made in obvious areas, such as the bonuses received by senior civil servants and the grossly inflated salaries of some in public bodies.

“Front-line services must not be the first resort; indeed, they must be defended. Sinn Féin believes — and I think that other parties would expect us to — that, given the financial and economic constraints affecting the Southern economy and our regional economy, there is a need for greater co-operation, particularly on delivering shared services, especially in the border area. It is simply a waste of time and money to deliver such services on a back-to-back basis. It is a particular waste when the economy is under such pressure.”

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