Friday, 19 February 2010

26 into 11 may not go

LOCAL government has a week to do the sums of dividing 26 councils into 11 councils.

As part of the Review of Public Administration the number of our local district councils has to be reduced.

But given the penchant in Northern Ireland for brinkmanship, Environment Minister Edwin Poots has given councils until 25 February to agree the new structures.

Agree or the whole deal is off. The Minister seems, on the surface, to be carrying on from when he was negotiating over policing and justice.

But then again, given that councils have supposed to have been cutting back since forever, one can understand why the Environment Minister is getting a little bit peeved over failures to set up a single waste authority and business service.

If the Minsiter were to look at the NI Planning Service he would see how a region-wide service can be delivered….oh wait a minute! Let’s have a logic break for a moment. We have a NI Planning Service that the Public Accounts Committee says is flawed. We’re going to devolve that down to council level. And we have a refuse/waste service that runs reasonably well in most areas that we are going to centralise. The wonders of the Review of Public Administration!

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