Cuts, cuts and more cuts? or how I don't always believe the hype

I pick up the Saturday's Belfast and what is on the front page? 'Cameron: I'll target Ulster for Cutbacks'

And I thought, what on earth has he said now?  

Well, my first reaction to this was not a good one - feeling very angry about the issue of financial cuts, especially when it comes to cuts in the public sector.  Yes I am and Ulster Unionist, yes I am a Conservative supporter, and yes I believe in a social conscience. A bit mixed up, but you can't be perfect.

On reading through the headlines and reaching once more for my trusty filibuster busting book "The Tiger That Isn't" to calm me down and move me towards a more clinical questioning standpoint.

So lets go through the headline 'Cameron: I'll target Ulster for Cutbacks' - OK David Gordon (the correspondent of the piece), where exactly did he say this? I am not the greatest in constantly picking up on small things but i listened to the Paxman interview and could not hear anything. Nor was it actually quoted as verbatim in the Belfast Telegraph report.  Hmmmm.

Maybe David Gordon should have looked a bit harder through his red tinted glasses and also had a wee look at what Peter Robinson and Sammy Wilson have already said.

"I want to serve notice to this Assembly and to the wider community that I am determined to take the drive for greater efficiency in public services to a new level.  I am simply not prepared to stand back and leave unchallenged the countless instances, large and small, across all our public bodies where taxpayers’ money is being wasted on over-staffing, absenteeism, poor working practices and a resistance to radical change in the way we go about delivering services. We owe this, not just to those who use and need our public services, but also to the many public servants who want to see change and improvements in the way they do their jobs.

I believe that we can go further than this in finding ways to free up more resources for reinvestment in public services. In the period between now and my announcement of the final budget in January, I want to finalise and then publish details of how departments will deliver on their efficiency programmes.  I will also want to examine the scope for delivering even higher levels of efficiency beyond the 3% a year targets already set, and I will announce new targets for reductions in the size of the Civil Service over the next three years.

Given the changes already introduced under direct rule, such as the review of public administration and cuts in the number of quango's councils and bodies controlling health and education, people will need to be redeployed quickly from the public sector into the private sector.
Now I would have thought these comments were more stark in making cuts.

David also in his first paragraph states 
"Tory leader David Cameron has signalled his intention to slash public spending in Northern Ireland — picking out the province as a region where Government expenditure must come down."

Cameron never said slashes, cuts, or anything else - he did say that 

In Northern Ireland it is quite clear – and almost every party accepts this –that the size of the state has got too big ... We need a bigger private sector. There are other parts of the country, including in the north-east. The aim has got to be to get the private sector, to get the commercial sector going.
He merely states that he wants to increase the size of the private sector.  This does not mean cuts in the public sector.

I want to see the Private Sector in Northern Ireland grow, but not to the detriment of the public sector.  We do not need cuts (and I realise David Cameron's speech does not yes or no to a reduction in funding.) we need business improvements in our public sector, where they can be made.  We need Sammy Wilson to stop rewarding the top civil servants with such large percentage salary increases (though he has stopped the bonuses that were given on top of the salary increase) bonuses, whilst reducing head counts in the Departments of lower grades.

I expected a bit more accurate, or even reflective reporting from David. But then he is a bit of a Lefty, so I can forgive him that ;)

I hope to be at the Conservatives and Unionists Manifesto launch tomorrow. And i will investigate further.


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