Saturday, 7 February 2009

Housing, retraining and upskilling

And when in economic difficulty perhaps it is time to tweak the budget. Hence, Declan O’Loan’s motion to revise the Programme for Government and Budget.

His plan is to change the focus of spending to focus more on housing and retraining the workforce with new skills.

The DUP and Sinn Féin response was basically “how dare you”!

While the recriminations between all sides fired back and forth across the chamber, it became clear that the Executive’s budget is currently ‘up the left’.

The Executive, of course, cannot be blamed for the global crisis but it is in no doubt that they will have to cope with the fall-out. Already the Enniskillen Hospital project has been affected with HSBC withdrawing from the PFI scheme. More imaginative ways will be needed to keep NI plc afloat.

With Finance Minister Nigel Dodds definitely not standing for Europe, and his wife out on the stump, he’ll have the chance to concentrate on the tweaks that O’Loan proposed, without actually having to admit that it was another party’s idea all along.

Not that any political party has ever done that before.

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