Belfast Telegraph

Town plans, the Maze project and a red meat strategy all paid for by you

Stormont departments spent close to £50m on consultants since 2007, with the Department of Finance accounting for £12.6m of that expenditure.

The Department of Social Development is one of three departments whose expenditure has risen — up from £739,447 in 2007/08 to £2,457,454 last year.

The majority of cash has gone towards masterplans in towns and cities across Northern Ireland.

Almost £48,000 was spent on compiling five masterplans for Belfast, another in Lisburn topped £115,000 while similar plans for Larne and Armagh each cost over £80,000.

Spending at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment has almost doubled in the last three years, with more than £1m going on legal advice surrounding “energy issues”.

Some £222,329 was spent on marketing for a “broadband contract initiative”.

The health department’s £3.7m bill included £453,000 on advice relating to property and construction.

Over a two-year period, £734,000 was also spent on “strategic management” with £173,000 going towards “performance measurement”.

A large slice of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure’s £3.5 million spend went on planning and design for the Maze stadium project. It was scrapped in 2009 after years of political deadlock — two years after £2,614,000 was handed over by DCAL.

The Department of Regional Development spent £3,175,771, which included £340,000 on a feasibility study on rapid transport in Belfast.

Some £2,099,611 was spent by the Department of Education, although this has fallen significantly.

“Strategic management” accounted for around half its outlay, while £415,000 was spent on “policy appraisal and review”.

The Department of Agriculture spent £1,578,035 and one of its biggest outlays was £250,000 on “management consultancy” for a red meat strategy.

The department spending the least was Employment and Learning. Its total outlay was £1,391,000, with more than £1m going towards management advice.

Belfast Telegraph

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