GOOD evening and welcome to DIY SOS NI – the country where doing it ourselves has taken on a new meaning – and we don’t even have Nick Knowles and his happy band of helpers to lend a hand.
Yes, with the cutbacks we’re all going to have to pitch in and help save the world around us.
First order of the day - schools! You see those dratted mandarins at the Treasury have changed the rules and, if NI plc hasn’t spent the money, the Treasury want it back. So out goes about £87m of funding carried over to build new schools and replace dilapidated and unsafe classrooms.
In line with PM David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’, if we all chip in we can sort the whole mess out. If you have a school near you needing rebuilding you can do something about it! Donate a brick, chip in for the cement and if you don’t have any building or construction skills get along to your local further education college and enrol for a course.
And if you really, really believe that the north-west needs a new cancer unit, and the minister says he can build it but not resource it, then people step up to the mark. Get along to university and do a crash course in radiotherapy and radiography – then you can volunteer to get along. And we’re pretty sure that you can chip in for the cost of any equipment.
Really, come on, if we all put our shoulder to the wheel everything will be all right.
Errrr, except it won’t: the list of cuts is mind-boggling. Education, further education, higher education, health, social services, housing; wherever you look the departmental draft budgets make for bleak reading.
But if you really want to have your say, apart from spouting off on the radio, the Northern Ireland Executive has extended the consultation by one week from the 9th to the 16th February – so that’s okay then.
And look out over coming weeks for each and every member of the Executive and each and every MLA pleading poverty to their colleagues and doing the ‘sad face’ in front of the cameras.