Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Anyone got a fiver?

NO seriously, it’s January, we’ve blown it all on Christmas and the Sales and a fiver would go a long way. And for every one of us feeling the same way, isn’t it nice that the Northern Ireland government departments have got all their budgets and spending plans sorted out.

As every householder knows planning your budget is so vital – the tiniest detail needs to be thought through, lest the state-funded banks come-a-calling.

With less than 11 weeks before the end of the financial year there may be a sort of budget, but details are pretty thin on the ground for each department.

Minister for Finance and Personnel, Sammy Wilson gave a commitment that said detail would be available before Christmas, so we, like many others looked forward to scanning such detail as we edged tentatively into 2011.

But alas, most of the NI Executive department savings and spending plans – save those for Mr Wilson’s own department, DCAL and Justice - have yet to see the light of day; making it pretty difficult for us to comment on a budget that has loads of headlines, but little specifics.

However, suffused with the rapidly ebbing Christmas spirit we’re going to be charitable. After all Mr Wilson may have been hopelessly optimistic expecting civil servants to get some work done coming up to Christmas, what with seasonal parties and all the shopping they needed to get done. Then there was the weather, and the two week down tools that afflicts the office bound public sector. And, well the first week of January is always difficult to get really motivated to do anything let alone spreadsheets.

Therefore, barring snow, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and other weather related excuses we hope that all the departments this week will present, with a flourish, their savings and spending plans for the next four years. Dear reader, do not be holding your breath!

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