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Poots decision to squander £400m brought into focus

5 July, 2010 - by John O'Dowd

Sinn Féin Assembly Group Leader John O’Dowd has said briefings from the British Treasury over the weekend predicting 40% cuts in public spending, brought into even starker contrast the folly of the decision by Edwin Poots to squander over £400m in savings by rejecting the RPA.

Mr O’Dowd said:

“The only way in which the Executive is going to be able to protect frontline services and the most vulnerable in our society who depend most upon them is by cutting back on the bureaucracy and directing the savings into public services.

“Everyone knows the agenda being set by the Tory government in London. Everyone knows the difficult economic climate we are operating in. The briefings at the weekend predicting 40% cuts in public spending are part of all of that. All the more shameful then, for Edwin Poots to squander over £400m in savings which would be generated by the RPA.

“And people need to be clear why Mr Poots went down the road he did. He took the decision to waste scarce resources because he couldn’t deal with the checks and balances contained in the new plan for local government which would have seen the days of unionist fiefdoms like Lisburn banished to the past and he wanted to gerrymander the boundaries in defiance of the commission.

“Edwin Poots has undoubtedly weakened the Executives hand in trying to protect frontline services. He put narrow party political interests in front of the need to ensure that vital public services have the necessary finance to continue delivering for communities.” ENDS

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