Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

MLA slams Stormont review progress

DUP MLA Gregory Campbell expressed frustration at the lack of agreement on a reduction in the number of government departments
DUP MLA Gregory Campbell expressed frustration at the lack of agreement on a reduction in the number of government departments

A review on streamlining Stormont is moving at a snail's pace, an MLA claims.

Gregory Campbell was among a number of politicians who expressed frustration at the lack of agreement on a reduction in the number of government departments.

The DUP MLA for East Londonderry said: "At this rate it will be 2050 by the time we get to the point that most people out there want us to get to."

During a debate in the Assembly, it was revealed that after 23 meetings of the Assembly Executive Review Committee - which was set up to look at restructuring the institutions - politicians have still not settled on a way forward.

Mr Campbell said: "There were well over 20 meetings and people were asked to put forward their proposals.

"Time after time after time after time after endless time, we put forward our proposals. One party didn't: Sinn Fein didn't. They did not elaborate or expand on any of their views.

"When people look at this report and look at the 23 meetings or whatever it was they will be saying 'can we not have a bit more than just commonality?'.

"Let's get some sort of agreement on cost-effective, efficient systems of government here just as everyone else has to have outside."

At present, there are 12 government departments at Stormont. Eleven were set up under the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. The devolution of policing powers in 2010 created an additional Justice Department.

Previously, Finance Minister Sammy Wilson said tens of millions of pounds could be saved every year if the number of departments was slashed to six.

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