THERE has been much weeping and gnashing of teeth in the office of the Minister for Employment and Learning.
Sir Reg Empey is not angst ridden at the thought of DEL being merged out of existence. He is not rent with doubts over a UUP ministerial reshuffle. Nor is he gazing inward as he comes to terms with not being party leader.
No, Sir Reg is looking at a lost opportunity. For in the face of the budget cuts proposing that there will be thousands upon thousands of redundancies, the only aspect of public service that is set to rise is in the dole offices.
More dole staff to help sign on the redundant public sector workers; even a capital programme to expand dole offices…
So why then should Sir Reg be weeping and gnashing his teeth? Simple: come May some other MLA is going to grab hold of the expanding DEL remit. But hush, Sir Reg! They’ll be left with sorting out the university fees mess, so it’s not all bad!