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Proposed Civil Service cuts part of Thatcherite onslaught on people in the North - Pat Doherty MP

1 November, 2004

West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty says that plans to cut and privatise up to 5,900 Civil Service jobs through the so-called reform agenda "Fit for Purpose" represents the latest drive by the Direct Rule Administration to slash public expenditure in the six counties.

Mr Doherty said,

"Just like drive to impose unjust Water Charges, to increase domestic rates and to abolish industrial de-rating, this is but the latest attempt by the Direct Rule Administration to exploit the suspension in the institutions to claw back as much money as possible for the British Exchequer.

"The Direct Rule Administration is attempting to steam roll through a programme of increased revenue gathering measures along with cuts in public expenditure and a privatisation agenda regardless of the detrimental economic and social consequences for the people of the six counties.

"Fit for Purpose recommends the implementation of 2,300 direct job cuts by 2007/8. As Departments have given no details as to where these proposed cuts are to be made, it appears that this figure has been arrived at in a completely arbitrary fashion.

"There is also a recommendation to transfer another 2,600 jobs from the Water Service (DRD) and the Science Service (DARD) out of the Civil Service to new Government Company and a new non-departmental public body respectively. Members in these areas are being threatened with compulsory transfer to the new organisations with the loss of civil service employment, promotion and career opportunities. Another 1,000 Civil Servants are to be redeployed within the Civil Service. In all likelihood, there would be further major job losses and privatisation once the transfer and redeployment processes have been completed.

"All and all, the "Fit for Purpose" proposals to cut and privatise 5,900 Civil Service jobs would be disastrous- not only for those workers who find themselves in the firing line but also because of the severe impact this would have on the ability of remaining workers to deliver front line public services.

"These draconian proposals must be seen in the wider context of a Direct Rule Administration hell bent on achieving it's objective of reducing even further the British Exchequer's Block Grant to the Six Counties through the already unfair Barnett Formula.

"Therefore the proposed cuts in "Fit for Purpose" must be opposed as vigorously as the attempted imposition of Water Charges and inflated domestic rates.

"The entire community must unite to fight this Thatcherite onslaught by the Direct Rule Administration and we must demand the delivery of the much vaunted "Peace Dividend" that we were promised at the time of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

"The people of the six counties cannot be expected to pay either directly, or through the decimation of our public services, for the British government's neglect and lack of investment in our infrastructure during the long years of Direct Rule. ENDS

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