Sinn Féin - On Your Side

ELB spending - services must not be hit

19 November, 2004

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson, Newry and Armagh MLA Davy Hyland has said that services delivered by any Education Board cannot be allowed to suffer as part of the reaction to deficits accumulated by the Boards.

Mr Hyland said:

"Whilst it is reasonable that the whole question of financial spend and focus must be examined and concerns addressed, nevertheless any suggestion of a financial claw back must not impact on services delivered on the ground particularly to the most vulnerable in our community like those with special needs.

"Barry Gardiner must now recognise that there is crisis facing all education boards. This is not just because of weak financial management. It is because they do not have enough money to provide the level of service required.

"It is time that Mr Gardiner examined the failure of direct rule ministers to take responsibility for this situation. The department must also come clean on the impact on inflation and wage pressures on money available for front line services. There must be real increases in spending, in next financial cycle, beyond those swallowed up by inflationary pressures, to meet the requirements particularly for greater investment in additional psychologists, teachers in special units and classroom assistants.

"Sinn Féin are committed to a cost efficient and effective delivery of services throughout our system. Quick fixes are not the answer and will cause nothing more than further hardship and indeed financial crisis." ENDS

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