Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Telegraph asks readers to blow the whistle on waste

Today we invite readers to join our campaign and expose examples of taxpayers’ money being squandered

By David Gordon

The Belfast Telegraph today invites its readers to declare “War on Waste” and expose abuse of taxpayers' money in Northern Ireland.

With public funding coming under massive pressure, the call is going out to people to flag up inefficient practices where they work and live.

That applies to public sector employees and the many hundreds of thousands who use public services on a daily basis.

Instances of waste in the private sector are also very much welcomed.

Reporting cases could not be easier — just complete the form below to make your point.

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has repeatedly encouraged people to speak out about examples of waste.

Next week, the full scale of public spending cuts facing Northern Ireland will be revealed by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.

It is expected to herald the worst squeeze on Government funding in a generation, raising fears that front line services and vital investment projects will suffer. The battle to make sure every pound of taxpayers' money is well spent has never been more important.

This newspaper has been to the fore in standing up for Northern Ireland's interests as the cutbacks approach.

We have pressed for special measures for the province and highlighted the particular threat the situation poses for this region — with its current reliance on the public sector and still-fragile political framework.

Similar arguments are being anxiously made in the corridors of power by Assembly leaders.

However, it would be foolish to imagine that Northern Ireland is not going to feel some share of the pain. Government services are going to come under pressure. Patients and schoolchildren will be among those affected, as will public sector workers who are likely to experience pay freezes and even job losses.

War in Waste is not a criticism of Government employees: ensuring proper use of public money benefits them too.

Private sector businesses have much to lose from the cutbacks as well, including those boosted by the spending power of public employees, and those who provide goods and services to Government bodies.

This is why “War on Waste” is so important, as many hard-pressed organisations are going to have to make every penny count.

Belfast Telegraph editor Mike Gilson said: “The cutbacks are highly likely to affect everybody in some way. We need to keep pushing the case for adequate funding for Northern Ireland, while at the same time making sure that savings are made in the right places.

“That is why we have launched War on Waste. We all know of anecdotal evidence of wasteful and inefficient practices. If you have been quietly seething about examples in your workplace or neighbourhood, here is your chance to do something about it.”

The Belfast Telegraph intends to use material supplied by readers as the basis of news reports in the paper.

People can of course retain full anonymity when reporting cases

The more specific they are about examples, the more impact it will have when we report on it.

Mr Gilson added: “We are not interested in lambasting public bodies.

“It is very much in the interests of employees themselves to stamp out waste. Anyone who values public services and wants to protect their funding should applaud our initiative.”

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