Friday, 30 April 2010

Plans to move on

PLANNING officials are on their way out of planning offices to a smattering of civil service departments.

Environment Minister, Edwin Poots, says he wants to make sure that the 269 staff are re-deployed as a result of lower planning application receipts.

He wants to make sure there are posts for them to go to before other departments started cutting back and looking to re-deploy staff.

Stay with us here for a moment…the implication is clear. There will be redundancies in the civil service. Now, is this an indication that there will be cuts forced upon other departments? And, if so, where and when will these cuts take place.

But, and here is the rub, if a civil servant loses their job then there is a redundancy payment to be paid. After that there comes the cost of the former civil servant sign on for Job Seeker’s Allowance. This means more staff may be needed in dole offices…

The parties in the Executive have a difficult time ahead if they are to make so-called cuts.

However, we have a wee nagging doubt about the ability of any party to make sure that cuts take place. As anyone working on year end public sector accounts should know, come March there is a mad dash to spend all the money, or else you’ll lose it next year. Will the same apply to the Block Grant? Come March 2011, will NI plc panic next February to spend, spend, spend lest the Treasury wield the axe.

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