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Focus must be set on deficit reduction plans

THE local focus on the Chancellor's Autumn Statement was all about the potential transfer of corporation tax powers (News, December 4).

Yet just as significant were the longer-term deficit reduction plans, which, put in more straightforward language, mean another £390m will have to come off our departments' annual budget by the end of the decade.

The pain of budget reductions is particularly acute now, because they have not been adequately planned for.

Departments are now being forced to try to deliver the same services with markedly less money.

Instead, we long ago should have been focusing on how to do things differently, so that the most vital frontline services (and those providing them, regardless of what sector they are working in) are fully protected.

With Labour committed to the same basic plans for current resource-spending as the Conservatives, we know precisely what is coming and so we have no excuse not to prepare for it.

And we must do so regardless of whether we implement welfare reform, or corporation tax reductions.

That will require a level of political responsibility and maturity which has not been in evidence over the past few weeks.

CLLR PAULA BRADSHAW (Alliance)

Belfast City Council

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