Magazine article Public Finance

Northern Ireland Faces Funding Reform

Magazine article Public Finance

Northern Ireland Faces Funding Reform

Article excerpt

A 'year zero' comprehensive spending review of all public sector spending in Northern Ireland has been announced by secretary of state Peter Hain. The review could lead to the abolition of some government departments.

'We will continue to increase spending on public services in Northern Ireland each and every year, but we must be prepared to abandon established and entrenched spending programmes whose value has diminished with the passage of time,' said Hain.

'Instead, I want to see public expenditure targeted on those areas that will enable Northern Ireland to take its place as a highly competitive region with a growing and vibrant economy where public services are delivered in the most cost-effective way.'

The Main review will be supported by an independent review of education spending, comparable to the recent and very critical review of health spending by Professor John Appleby of the King's Fund. The Appleby review has accelerated the restructuring and reform of the health service in Northern Ireland.

Hain's broader review promises to do to central government what the review of public administration is doing to councils and health agencies - cutting back the number of public bodies and their staffing. …

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