The next general election will be fought on many issues, not least the actions of the incumbant in relation to their expenses. The real political issue will focus on the level of Government income available to run the country. All parties are agreed that when expenditure is greater than income something has to give and it is this something which will divide the political classes. In Northern Ireland we have hidden the fact that budgets are being cut in the relatively useless term "efficiency savings" spread evenly across all departments. This will no longer suffice, we are at the point where the difficult decisions have to be taken. A new Programme for Government is required which establishes the real priorities, to protect the weak, support our indigenous economy and allow for growth and development where real fiscal advantage can be gained. Infrastructure developments such as major roads are questionable when there is not the revenue to maintain the current infrastructure. Why build roads when people still live in unfit housing and we have a need of 40,000 new social housing units? Why continue to chase the ever elusive Foreign Direct Investment (usually attracted by a golden welcome) when our most successful businesses such as FG Wilson are struggling? Why does DSD continue to churn out masterplan after masterplan for town centre regeneration when it knows there is no investment to implement them?
Lets stop the nonsense about efficiency savings, lets tell people the truth, we don't have the money to do everything, then let us focus on those areas where we have to support people such as housing and improving health and invest heavily in those. Let us postpone those items that would be nice to have but we just can't afford at this time. People do it every day of the week with their own money, why can't Government do likewise?