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Local Government Reform Programme

Part of Ministerial Statement – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 5:15 pm on 20th October 2009.

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Photo of Basil McCrea Basil McCrea UUP 5:15 pm, 20th October 2009

I do not doubt the Minister’s personal commitment to the project. I will be interested to see whether the projected savings can be trapped; 25 years is a fairly long time, even in politics, and we are being asked to spend £118 million to save £438 million. It is not yet entirely clear how that will be paid for in the early stages.

I take on board the Minister’s suggestion that some discussion will take place with DFP, but surely ratepayers in one existing council will pay lower rates than those in another council, and I am interested to know how the Minister will deal with that disparity.

I note that the report mentions that some modifications may be made to the Boundary Commission’s proposals. What does the Minister have in mind? Do those new proposals have cross-party support, and are there any knock-on implications for elections?