Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Editor's Viewpoint: At last, let us exalt politics in action

This newspaper has often been critical of the performance of the Executive and the amount of time spent on spurious arguments which are essentially grandstanding to curry favour with the various parties' constituencies.

So it is only fair that we should applaud the politicians when they come up with a worthwhile initiative which will really make a difference to lives at local level and will continue to reap dividends for many years to come.

The Executive is spending £26m on six projects which will create employment and raise the level of attainment by underachieving children in both primary and secondary schools. In the grand scale of things it may seem like a modest outlay, but its impact could be much greater than that of more grandiose initiatives.

The most immediate impact will be to give employment to 250 newly-graduated teachers for two years. Such has been the dearth of posts in teaching for graduates that the administration has been forced in recent years to cut the number of places for student teachers.

These new posts are to help pupils who are struggling with literacy and numeracy. So not only will the project provide jobs, it will also better equip future generations in seeking employment.

Other projects will provide funding for incubator businesses in derelict premises and support units for families and young people in need. Overall it is an enlightened and innovative set of schemes which show that politicians are aware of real pressing needs faced by young people and disadvantaged families. Too often it appears that they are remote from the pain being suffered by constituents, especially in these times of austerity, but this is a strong rebuff of that notion.

It also shows the value of politicians working together for a common good - no one section of the community can claim a monopoly on deprivation or lack of employment prospects - rather than for party political advantage and they deserve to be congratulated for showing vision and concern.

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