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.
"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.
"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."
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.