Saturday, October 16, 2010

There is a Better Way

On Wednesday the British government will announce the outcome of its Comprehensive Spending Review and the extent of the cuts that it plans to impose.

Two weeks ago this blog met a senior delegation from the ICTU to talk about these threatened cuts and their likely impact on the north. Cuts to departmental budgets; cuts to public services; cuts to infrastructure investment; cuts that will cost jobs and hurt citizens.

It was a good meeting and most of those involved came down afterward to the front of Parliament Buildings and joined us for the launch of a west Belfast billboard Opposing the Cuts.

Sinn Féin and ICTU are agreed about the need to reject cuts and protect front line services and to build an alliance between political parties, the unions and the community and voluntary sector to oppose any cuts.

There is a lot of speculation about the cuts which might be introduced by the British government. It the speculation is correct they will have a huge and detrimental impact on workers, the disadvantaged and those in poverty.

The poorest will be hit 10 times harder than the wealthy.

It will be the public services they rely on, in health and education and social services and transport, that will be hit hardest.

Lone parents, the elderly and the sick will suffer the most.

In addition, the patterns of poverty which have remained unchanged over decades, will be reinforced. For as long as records exist, concentrations of inequality and deprivation have been ingrained in areas like west Belfast. This is systemic and structured discrimination.

One report published in recent days predicts that 20,000 public sector jobs could go and another 16,000 private sector jobs could follow.

So, political leaders and parties in the north have to stand up for peoples rights and in opposition to cuts. Sinn Féin is focussed and determined to do this.

When Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness met the British Chancellor, Martin McGuinness told him of Sinn Féin’s opposition to cuts and of the need to protect frontline services for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.

And on Thursday morning, before flying off to Kerry to speak at the selection convention for North Kerry and West Limerick, this blog along with all of the Sinn Féin Ministers and Mitchel McLauglhin released details of an economic package of measures – ‘There is a Better Way’ - that Sinn Féin believes can protect the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

A significant difficulty for the Assembly and the Executive is that we have limited fiscal powers. This is unacceptable and unsustainable.

Partition too has had a detrimental economic impact. A radical reshaping of how the Government, and the private and the public sectors work is needed. An All-Ireland economic recovery plan is also required to deliver sustainable long lasting economic growth with greater economic equality.

Getting rid of the duplication of services created by partition makes economic sense and can deliver better public services for citizens. This is most obvious with health, but planning and infrastructure – energy co-operation – waste and tourism are only some of the areas that would benefit from an all-island approach.

The goal of the Assembly and Executive must be to deliver the necessary social and economic change that is required for our society. It is critical also that we continue to deliver frontline public services in health, education and transport; invest in capital infrastructure projects; ensure adequate housing for all and end poverty and disadvantage across urban areas and rural communities.

We need strategies to end inequality and deliver a more equal and prosperous society.

All of this is doable. There is an alternative way forward. A better way.

The imperative is to protect frontline services and in particular the most vulnerable in our society who rely on public services for survival.

A team of party activists, under the direction of our Finance spokesperson Mitchel McLaughlin, developed our proposals and passed them to economists and other experts as part of the preparation of Thursday’s document.

Sinn Féin’s proposals are about tackling waste, saving money, raising revenue, and investing this to create jobs, build infrastructure and protect public services. They will bring in almost £1.9 billion in combined savings and new revenue.

If the Assembly and Executive, the political parties and Trade Unions, and the community act together we can protect the public sector, maintain frontline services and grow our economy in a sustainable and effective manner.

The documents, ‘There is a Better Way’ is available on


Timothy Dougherty said...

hello Gerry, ‘There is a Better Way’, good to see Sinn Féin’s innovative ideas. Producing something from almost nothing,good creative work ahead of you. Even with a social system where each person has a say over his or her Educatioal outlook, the cost is still a issue. Even the cost of The Slippery Female Tomato, do add up. By addressing the most vulnerable populations you set out the major obstacles to the full participation in social justice. The economically or educationally disadvantaged persons are likely to be vulnerable to coercion or undue influence from a system bent with a history of abuse. We're never so vulnerable than when we trust someone-or something. As Gandhi so will said:The measure of a country's greatness should be based on how well it cares for its most vulnerable populations. The British do not have that history of caring for others. Belfast - Ireland , the people deserve a budget that invests in the future, protects the most vulnerable among them and helps to create jobs and economic security. That is the right of all people.

michaelhenry said...

the loser pays the piper-
no matter if it is a young war or
old peace
owen paterson tory m.p who is
un-elected by the IRISH people
announced that stormont was going to get the 18 billion new money which was promised at the st andrew's agreement,[i sometimes think that both the brit goverment
and the dissident's never read the agreement's, or the media either ]
now we see where the money is comming from- trident nuclear system is to be delayed for 5 years
the brit military has lost 14 billion which they were to use to
build a new training academy at st athan wales[the first minister of
wales carwyn jones said that the torys had betrayed the people of wales ]
peace is great-
looks like the war reparations are to be a killer to the brit military

Fionnuala Perry said...

michaelhenry, it is looking increasingly likely that Sinn Fein did not read the Agreement either.
Suddenly, all the British ministers in Stormont, Sinn Fein included appear to have come over all altruistic in relation to the poor and the needy.
Commonsense would have told them years ago that this was going to happen. Too busy building their personal empires and flag waving to really care about people and that does not look likely to change.
Sinn Fein's economic proposals have apparently came too late according to some economic forecasters.
Will they make a difference? doubt it.

michaelhenry said...

fionnuala- i have said this to you
you can not be a brit minister if you do not take the oath at stormont or any where else,
SINN FEIN represent's the people
the other partys just want to be subjects

fionnuala- are these the same
economic forecasters who oppose
SINN FEIN but not the banks- nor
did they have a clue about the dark
economic clouds which have hit us like a storm
notice you are on the side of those
who see SINN FEIN but are blind to the banks.