THE former Chief Examiner of ‘A’ level economics and current Minister for Finance and Personnel, Sammy Wilson was in a war of numbers this week, as opposed to the usual war of words.
It appears that someone got their numbers crossed and confused when comparing health budgets in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Tortuously eyes were cast over a briefing note to the Finance Committee highlighting the fact that Minister Wilson had got his figures wrong in statement before Christmas. According to the Assembly research department, the Scots reduced their health spend by .303% - not 3.03% as suggested by the Minister…oh we don’t really care anymore. No-one with something approximating a life will be bothered by the nuances of such comparison.
Crude politicking lies behind all comparisons and use of statistics.
What really needs to happen is some cool heads to look at what way we can organise the figures, shift the money about and get central government to loosen up a wee bit.
We have an idea for co-option to the Executive’s bean counter cadre. Eric Daniels.
Eric is the Lloyds Banking boss who presided over the rather unfortunate purchase of debt ridden HBOS (Halifax Bank of Scotland), which led to Government taking a share in the Lloyds Group (currently at 41%). He’s quitting in March with an alleged bonus of £2m coming his way.
But look at his record – he was in charge when the money train ground to a halt, he got the bank back in profit and got government to cough up.
So, while his services might be costly, we could always ask Eric to spend a couple of weeks playing with the books of NI plc and getting HM Treasury to loosen the purse strings.
Ultimately Eric could help privatise the entire region as the first FTSE listed region…