15/01/2012 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


Andrew Neil and Tara Mills with the latest political news and debate including a live interview with Education Secretary, Michael Gove MP.

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And in Northern Ireland an executive reshuffle could see


alliance lose a ministry. Is red tape adding to the troubles of the


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1689 seconds


Welcome to Northern Ireland. It has been long talked about, cutting


back Stormont departments, but the executive caught everyone by


surprise with the proposal to scrap employment and learning and resolve


the problem of what happens to justice. For one party it will not


be as sweet as the existing proposition. But we believe it is


our best attempt at trying to get the highest level of consensus.


shake-up or a carve up? We will here from the alliance and Sinn


Fein. Also: We have it on authority that few contractors are getting it


over the line. It is frustrating. Does red tape have a strangle hold


on the construction industry? New year and a new look for us. Each


week I'm joined by two guests. Today I'm joined by Dawn Purvis and


Tom Kelly. It has been the big story of the week, Dawn, somebody


said the Assembly is full of negotiators rather than legislators,


is this not example? Yes nexts have continued, but that is the nature


of democratic politics. It is about reaching consensus and moving on.


So yes, negotiations is part of democratic politics. But a good


idea, it seem we can't do anything. We always push things to the brink.


That is the nature. But it is the nature of politics. We don't start


the work six months in advance. We leave it to the last minute. But


the discussion about the number of departments and the


responsibilities the departments is long overdue. Tom Kelly, what do


you think, malicious, a carve up, or just a sign that it wasn't fair


the thing the way it was working? There are three things. One way it


is squaring off the fact that alliance had an extra ministry,


which seemed to annoy some people. Or it is about slim down government


or that it doesn't make sense as a stand alone department. I don't


think it does make sense as a stand alone department and needs to be


aligned to the needs of industry and part of it should go to


enterprise, trade and employment to be more competitive. That is the


important thing. I wouldn't get too hung up about alliance losing the


ministry. But it is progress. But it is not slimmed down government


if you just move everyone over. Stay with us, plenty more to talk


about. So the parties have until tomorrow to deliver their verdicts


on the proposal to scrap employment and learning and allowing David


Ford to remain as justice minister. The first and deputy First


Ministers said their plan is the right one. I'm joined by two guests.


Nay owe Mee Long it is just fairness? The reality is there an


anomaly. There are three separate issues and they are being brought


together in a way that does not deal with any of them. First it is


about how we appoint a justice minister and how the community can


have confidence in him. And then what happens if that goes outside


the mechanism and we make sure there is fairness within the other


ministries that. Needs to be assessed. And then there is the


separate issue of how we slim down government. The proposal doesn't do


that. It fixs the particular problem of alliance having two


ministries. But if at some point the SDLP was to nominate the


justice minister, it wouldn't stop them having a disproportionate


number of seats. It does Nantes deal with the fact that there is a


lodge jibg to this. But there never been an argument it should go to


Department of Education. That is because there is a kafb up between


the dup -- carve up between the DUP and Sinn Fein. None of what we


discussed will be about the Alliance Party nominating for


justice. That is a decision we will take when the changes are made. It


is an irrelevance about the structures. And that is we're


focused on. Not who holds the ministries or this they will hold


them in a short period, but what works for long-term. Was it a


political carve up? What was the motive? What we have achieved is


stability. The introduction of policing and justice, there was


concerns about how that would be delivered. Sinn Fein continued to


arguing it should be a local ministry and it has worked well.


The sky did not fall in, despite the prodictions of some. Justice


has worked. We have a formula to ensloo ur that there will continue


to be a Justice Ministry on a cross community vote to give it


confidence of the community. We also have avoided the last minute


crisis talks. This should not come as a surprise. Everyone knew there


was a sun set clause when the ministry was formed. If parties


hadn't been discussing this, they should have been. Sinn Fein and the


DUP have brought this to a head and said we believe it is the best way


forward. It is logical that certain sections would go to trade and


enterprise and universities and higher education go to education.


Why would we not have a seamless education system, from pre-school


through primary school, postprimary school and on to higher level.


Education is about creating the workforce of the future. The skills


agenda is not as seemless as you make it out. The CBI said their


pre-Wednesday rens would be fr a department of economy. --


preference. And would streamline that into looking at how we make


those sections of education deliver for business. That is important,


what we are are arguing about is how those functions will work and


the argument that was brought after a review was that Del should


transfer entirely. Sinn Fein will have an issue with that, because


that is a DUP ministry. But it does not, you're not making a


counterargument as to why you would put it anyone else. They are


telling me our education system to meet our tris and we propose


from the earlys days of a child in school, they will go through all


elements of training, including training and skills and further and


higher education. We now have that system in place and that can only


be good for education and for our economy. Why not do the whole


reconstruction of the departments at once? Why have justice as your


priority, that is what it seems, we wanted to sort out justice at the


expense of education? We have sorted out justice. We have sorted


out the issue where people had concern about the representation of


the Alliance Party and the issue oorned the department of


departments. There is a review that was built into the agreement about


the number and scale O'departments and the number of Assembly members.


All those matter will be resolved. But this was a time to deal with


the three issues. We do have limited amount of time, is David


Ford's threat to resign not over the top? But whatever structures


put in place will depend on whether the alliance chooses to nominate.


That is a separate issue we will have to discuss. Other parties may


decide to nominate and they be -- may p elected. We got it because no


one else had cross community support. What the proposal does not


do is address the situation where another party does command cross


community support. The anomaly would pass on to another party. Our


proposals remove that anomaly and give whoever is the minister for


justice the same security as any other minister and put forward


propose ands that will allows to maximise the benefit to the public.


We want efficient and effective Government where money is spent on


public services. I want to ask you about the money. A lot of people in


the teaching profession, parents, pupil, does the �120 that was


announced mean that everyone can breathe a sigh of relief. Those


redundancies that people were talk about, will they now not happen?


The � 1250 -- �120 is a sigh of relief. But we have not eradicated


the problem. We have eased the pressures and saves hundreds of


jobs and secured the future education of our young people. But


I will continue to work with the executive in a bid to gain further


investment in education. But the recent announcement is welcome. It


has saved swrobs and secured our education system. Thank you. --


jobs. I want to catch up some of the points about education. Dawn


Purvis you took a great interest in this area, do cow think this money


will be -- do you think this money will be good news for schools and


they will withdraw back from the redundancies. You can take some


comfort from the money, but the minister has said there is still


pressures and they won't be a -- achieve lated by -- alleviated by


the money. We should be concerned at the carve up and what thought


has gone into where the responsibilities of Del lie. We


talk about the functions of Del going to trade and investment. We


should look in the opposite direction and we should look at the


kpt of -- department of education - - Department of Education having


responsibility for education from childhood through young people and


adult education. I am concerned about young people not in


employment, education or training, where the responsibilities for


those lie. It should be within the Department of Education and adult


education should remain. Because it is skills that drive the economy


and not the other way. There is an issue about the economy and it is


spread over many departments. any way to run a government, this


confusing message in the run up to Christmas, it is a prophet and


doofl a then Santa Claus appears. It is not a good way to run


government. But the practicalities means that is the way we run it. If


the minister finds money from other areas and they prioritise the money


that is spare, then they are doing a good thing. It would be worse if


they were handing it back to the Treasury. Plenty more to talk about.


Well the construction industry's going through tough times and there


is no sign of an upturn. So what can Stormont do? At least half of


the Executive will meet represent e represent yifrs of building


industry to discuss the problems. - - representatives. The ministers


will be asked to cut bureaucracy and speed up public works. Sean


MacMahon has been in the industry for 30 year, but his experience


counts for little in winning public sector contracts. The procurement


process is a red tape nightmare for small firms. It is because of this


document, the pre-qualification questionnare. It is costly to


produce not only on our resource but to achieve qualification on


tender lists we have employed consultants to help us gain


selection for the lists. We have it on good authority that few


contractors are successful in getting over the line. It is


frustrating, very annoying and very demoralising. The framework is set


down by European directive A report prepared for the European


Commission found the UK had the slowest and most costly procurement


procedures in the EU. The Royal Society of Ulster Architects says


its member are falling foul of the bureaucracy. Its following the lead


of Scotland by lobbying politicians for a review of the process. It is


regarded as a risk business. The civil servants want to Maike I is


dotted and T is crossed. But it comes at a cost. I think we would


like to look at a good review of procurement. I think it would be


worthwhile. The problems with procurement couldn't come at a


worse time for the industry. Companies are being hit hard and


some can't take the pressure. Thrf there were 53 insolvencies in the


year to 2010. Many trades men also went bankrupt. The Department of


Enterprise says almost 33,000 people were working in the


construction sector in September. That is down 8.5% on the previous


year. According to the employers federation, at least 30,000 jobs


have been lost in the industry in four years. On Tuesday, the all


party working group on construction will meet at least six executive


ministers here at Stormont. The ministers will be asked to speed up


their spending plans. It could be looked at that the Executive is


trying to hold back pa some of the infrastructure projects until


before an election. So that it is seen to be spending money. From an


industry point of view, there is no t much point in doing that if a


whole pile of businesses go out of business. We have to look at the


programme of government, see how it is spending money, the types of


project that it is spending money on. The representative of the


industry due here for this meeting on Tuesday say they want more than


tea and sympathy. What they want is to see real action, that will


prevent further job losses and stop more firms from going into


bankruptcy. Tom Kelly, its seems almost criminal this has been


allowed to arise that some small companies, they are in some way


being... Sacrificed if you like. Because of Government's policy.


Government pro pr curement should be overhauled, because it is too


complicated and the fact is that it is a lot about box ticking and


little about deliver Iy. -- delivery. The fact they were going


to meet six Ministers shows the complexity of doing business here,


so many ministries have an impact on the construction industry, but


not having joined up thinking in term of how they create jobs. That


is a problem. This is about jobs and not business. It is about a


jobs agenda and that is the people sitting at home who are unemployed.


Dawn Purvis too many chiefs? Yes it is functions 06 a department are


spread over many departments. The economy is spread over five


departments and procurement is split over six departments. And the


Assembly finance and personnel committee published a report into


public procurement and much of the issues that were raised were


highlighted in that report. Bureaucracy is massive and it does


lock out businesss from Northern Ireland. And if the executive are


serious about growing the economy they must address the issue. Now a


round up of the political week in 60 seconds. New year new look at


the Executive, but is Stephen Farry being sacrificed to keep David Ford


at justice? We have a workable proposal. We look forward to take


it through the Assembly and having the change in place before the date


that is set. One job in the Executive causes a political row.


But 350 are to go at the Ulster Bank. And invest NI hands back


millions saying they can't get people to spend the money. And a


kind gesture from the deputy First Minister at the summit. We have a


cast until Belfast and I am sure we would be prepared to make it


available for peace diskugszs between the British Government and


-- discussions between the British Government and Scotland! Well Tom


Kelly, how will nationalists view the debate for independence. Will


they be optimistic I think the real issue is how unionists will regard


Scotland opting out. They have looked at them as being political


cousin and made much of the relationship with Scotland, where


Scotland has by and large been looking at the republic and Iceland


and saying we could do this on our own. So I think nationalists will


look at it amusingly and Martin McGuinness is right and we have a


castle here. What about unionists will there be any nerves about the


possibility of Scottish independence? Yes Martin


McGuinness's words are profeltic and we will look at - o' prophetic


and we look at peace talks. We know sectarianism is an issue that exist


as much in Scotland as it does within Northern Ireland. I think


those who are unionists in Northern Ireland will be lobbying heavily


for Scotland to remain part of union and you may see some of our


high profile figures over there lobbying on behalf of those in


swhrand who want to remain within the union. Like Peter Robinson?


and Tom Elliott and many other unionists leaders. Certainly those


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