08/03/2018 The View


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08/03/2018

Mark Carruthers and guests review the week's political events from Stormont and Westminster and follow the highs and lows of the political week.


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It's all about the money tonight.

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Finally, a big budget boost

from the Tory-DUP deal.

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But is there a downside?

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And, as a judge rules

the decision to block legacy

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funding was unlawful,

what happens next?

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Welcome to The View.

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Tonight, a day for

balancing the books.

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The Secretary of State has included

an extra £410 million of the money

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from the DUP deal in her budget.

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But the pill in that

sugar-coating is a big rise

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in domestic rates here.

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We'll dive into the numbers

with former Stormont Finance

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Minister Mairtin O Muilleor former

Alliance leader David Ford,

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and the SDLP's Claire Hanna.

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And, talking money, Enda McClafferty

has been looking into party

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planning in Ballymena.

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The chief executive came back to me

and told me that this was not a DUP

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dinner.

You wouldn't need to be a

rocket scientist to find out what

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this did not was.

-- what this is

dinner was.

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And, back in Commentators' Corner,

Professor Deirdre Heenan

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and Newton Emerson.

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Hello.

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After considerable uncertainty

as to whether or not it

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would even happen today,

the written statement

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on the budget finally came

through late this afternoon.

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For the second year in a row, it's

been handed down by Westminster -

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but this time around,

there was the small matter

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of a £400 million boost

from the Tory-DUP deal to add

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to the mix.

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We'll get reaction from

the politicians in just a moment.

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But first, our Business

Correspondent, Julian O'Neill,

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has been crunching the numbers,

and he's with me now.

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Was it broadly as expected?

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I think it was largely speaking,

Mark. The DUP money aside, it feels

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very much like last year's budget in

respect of health and education

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being prioritised. They get extra

money, and they get an increase

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which covers the rise in the rate of

inflation. That's not to say that

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they won't feel huge spending

pressures in the course of the next

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financial year. Other departments

are less fortunate. They get rises

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which don't cover the rate of

inflation, and some actually see a

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real terms

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freeze in cash allocations, or

indeed a reduction. So, I think we

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will not feel much of a difference

compared to previous years. And

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certainly I think many of us will

still be driving through potholes in

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the course of old working week.

We

have had £400 million of extra money

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as part of this deal.

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Where does the £400 million money

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from the Tory-DUP deal fit?

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This is new money, even though we

knew it was coming. £20 million of

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that game last financial year, but

now we have the arrival of a

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significant amount of money, £410

million. Half of it will be used for

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infrastructure projects like roads.

There will be £80 million split

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between education and hospitals, to

help ease pressures. Now, we were

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looking at a fairly bleak financial

situation in December. The word from

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the Department of Finance today is

that this DUP money has not made it

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quite as bleak, although we are

still very much living in tough

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times in terms of public spending.

Given that that's the case, it is

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interesting to note that there is

very little by way of revenue

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raising in this budget.

Yes, the

big, tough decisions, which was

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attached out in the scenario by the

Department of Finance before

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Christmas.

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-- which were sketched out. Things

like reintroducing prescription

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charges and higher education fees,

they have not been acted upon. I am

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led to believe they will be

revisited in the next financial

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year. What we do have this year, a

significant thing aside from the DUP

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money, and that is a significant

inflation -- inflation-busting hike,

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this is a return of devolution in

2007, the rise in the Stormont

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regional rate has always tracked

deflation. This at 4.5% is

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significantly above that and goes

well beyond what James Brokenshire

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did last year, when he introduced a

regional rate increase of 1.6%. This

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is 4.5%. I think the Secretary of

State is putting down something of a

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market here, it's symbolic, and

perhaps pointing to next year's

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budget, signalling that if there is

no devolution than some other tough

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financial decisions may have to be

made in respect of revenue.

Here is

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an interesting little point to end

on.

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You've been told tonight

that there was quite a bit

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of manoeuvring behind the scenes

to pull any announcement

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about MLAs' pay today.

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Which we had been expecting.

Make no

bones about it, there was to be an

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announcement today about the budget,

but that was also to be accompanied

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by a statement from the Secretary of

State in the House of Commons which

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would have covered MLA pain. Now, at

the 11th hour, those two events

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became detached, and what we got

today was the budget alone. And I'm

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led to believe that the reason for

that was to allow the DUP to get

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some headlines out of the budget

which weren't going to compete, or

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be overshadowed by any announcement

on MLA pay, which will come next

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week.

Some people might say that

with the Tory-DUP deal delivering

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for the DUP today.

Well, certainly

it suggests that there was

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absolutely no doubt at all that the

initial plan was for the Secretary

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of State to make a statement in the

House of Commons today. That did not

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happen, and we're hearing it has now

been rescheduled for Monday.

Julian,

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thank you very much indeed. We may

well come back to you throughout the

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course of the programme.

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Thanks, Julian.

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Let's hear what the

politicians make of it all.

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With me are former Finance Minister

Mairtin O Muilleoir,

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former Justice Minister David Ford,

and the SDLP's Claire Hanna.

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Both the DUP and the Ulster

Unionists declined to take part

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in our studio discussion.

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Mairtin, let me come to you first of

all. Julian has outlined where the

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extra money is going to be spent,

Key infrastructure payments, health

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and education. No big changes as far

as revenue raising our concern. How

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is that not good news in a difficult

economic climate?

It's amazing that

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the DUP are not here to defend this.

Why they are not here, it is a tough

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budget. Inflation is racing ahead at

3%. Therefore, any increase to any

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department needs to be at least 3%

to stand still. Seven departments,

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in government, they have a reduction

in their budget going forward. This

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is not a budget for growth or

development. You know, when the DUP

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said they have this wonderful deal

with the Tories, and the price of

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course is that they didn't have

rights to Irish speakers -- the

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denial of rights to or is because.

But when they said that they were

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getting the additional money, some

of us were naive enough to think it

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would be additional money, but they

plugging the gap in the budgets are

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still being cut. The wonderful money

from the DUP is now being used to

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plug the gaps.

That is not how the

DUP with the. Sinn Fein said you

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would not accept direct rule at any

price. Here is a budget opposed by

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the Secretary of State at

Westminster, an individual act of

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direct rule, and there is nothing

you can do about it.

I don't think

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they with their pretend that the

budget for health is enough, health

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needs 6% to stand still. In this

deal, it's still only 2%. This is in

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direct rule, but we all

understand...

It was an act of

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direct rule today.

We understand

that public services need to

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continue and budgets need to be set.

We are relaxed about that.

Fall of

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the fuss and sabre rattling that

Sinn Fein was engaged in, at the end

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of the day, here is a budget imposed

by a British liquid of state, and

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you are compliant.

What I will say

is this -- British Secretary of

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State. We need the British - Irish

intergovernmental conference to come

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together. That is what the

constitution says, we need to bring

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back together.

There is still no

sign of it.

I'm content that the

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next step forward in terms of

working through this political

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crisis and joint stewardship will be

this conference.

Went?

The sooner

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the better. Well, we can't make

progress without that. So, if the

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limbo is to be...

But we made

progress today.

We can't make

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progress on this political film

eight, the denial of rights for the

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British - Irish intergovernmental

conference -- this political

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stalemate.

You of course failed to

set a budget when Sinn Fein help

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finance portfolio. Last April, Sammy

Wilson, a former Finance Minister,

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called you a political coward for

dodging responsibility as Finance

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Minister to present a budget to the

Executive for debate.

I'm in the

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studio, where is the DUP? The

Finance Minister can't present a

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budget to Assembly. We didn't have

an agreement with the Executive

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because the Executive collapsed.

You

could have brought it to the

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Executive table for it to be

discussed?

No, the DUP were obsessed

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with RHI. We didn't have an

agreement in government. The Finance

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Minister cannot present a budget.

That's what the failure is. Why did

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government fail? It was a failure of

the DUP.

Sammy Wilson says the

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reason the Assembly was brought down

by Sinn Fein was your desire to

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avoid unpopular decisions.

When he

said it was about RHI and

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power-sharing, Sammy Wilson should

be here to say it and defend this

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tough budget. That's what it is, it

is not a budget for growth and

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investment. It will not provide home

for the homeless or solve the

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universities places crisis. It was

signed up by the DUP.

David Ford,

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just Okore Phi one point, but a

budget have been brought to the

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Executive table for discussion? --

just one point. The blog without the

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agreement

of the person is that

under by Defence Minister. The rule

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takes about six meetings to get

something onto the order paper.

It

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would have been tricky?

It would.

What do you hope of today's budget

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proposals, is at the best we could

have hoped for in difficult

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circumstances?

There is a real

requirement that we seek strategic

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decision-making, issues that are

creating difficulties addressed,

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what is about rather than what is

effectively a rolling on budget.

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Last year we had a kind of Tory

budget based on DUP and Sinn Fein

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ministers failing to make strategic

decisions, this year the Tories have

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failed to make strategic decisions

entirely on their own. We have huge

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inefficiencies in public services.

The crossover pavilion Evian schools

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post-16 -- Effie and schools. There

are a range of issues which simply

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aren't being addressed. Until we

address them, we will continue to be

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living with trying to play catch up,

trying to make the best of what

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we've got as opposed to making

strategic decisions, some of which

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will be unpopular in the short-term

but will actually allow long-term

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decision-making.

What about revenue

raising? That was something which

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could have been... Jolyon has talked

us through it, there were various

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options for consideration. Apart

from a number of issues of reference

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is about revenue raising in that

paper

were pretty meaningless in

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terms of the value it would have

produced compared to the public

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difficulty in getting them through.

For example, getting rid of free

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prescriptions sounds good but it

actually brings in very little

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revenue.

It brings in very little

revenue and a lot of it is taken up

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with administering, there are

difficulties. That may be needed as

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we look at at well, if we were to

ever implement the reforms to

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health, that's the kind of things we

might need to look at. There is also

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good deterrent factor of people

taking prescription is too easily,

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which has been suggested by some

people. The

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people. The reality is, and people

currently don't see value for money

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because of the inefficiencies in the

system.

Claire Hanna, could it be

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worse under the circumstances?

Actually, we haven't seen the

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detail, we have a lot more questions

than answers.

It was a pretty short

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statement.

Absolutely, nobody had

the opportunity to ask questions,

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the last session of Stormont was

pretty opaque in terms of questions

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about the budget, but even Tory

backbenchers are asking about the

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lack of opportunity...

You had a

briefing earlier in the week was

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glad we had a conversation, but as

far as I'm concerned it political

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cover

it was, as I call it, the kids

tables, the smaller parties, there

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is due process even in that. The

bigger parties had conversations.

We

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had no conversations. This is a

Tory-DUP budget.

Did you know what

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was going to be in it before the

written statement before the House?

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We had the same briefing that every

party received from the finance

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officials before Christmas and a

response to the consultation after

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Christmas, but we had no say

whatsoever in this, and if we had we

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would have been arguing.

The bottom

line is, the last day in 14 months

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is left, certainly we need a budget,

departments need clarity and how

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they are going to spend so they can

spend

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spend effectively, we are not

turning Dinos Arpad additional money

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but there is no understanding about

who is making the political

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decisions. Last year's budget,

whilst it was presented from

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Westminster, everybody was clear it

was laid down on the basis of the

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budget that the previous Executive

did not issue. Who is making the

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decisions? The extra money,

delighted we are to have it, but for

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infrastructure, what oil building

and where? £20 million extra for

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targeting social need, that could be

spent for almost any department.

In

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the DUP can say that it has returned

£410 million.

It isn't their money,

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it is taxpayers money.

It is money

the DUP negotiated over and above

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other money due to come.

That is not

to say the rest of us don't have an

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entitlement.

Everybody is going to

benefit from that is the case but

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the point is people are entitled to

know and it is a breach of the

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spirit of power-sharing Gasper that

this is worse than direct rule

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because when Sammy Wilson showboat

it on Twitter how he was going to

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see Treasury, the Good Friday allows

for traditions, and they have their

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fingerprints all over this budget.

Are we all going to benefit or will

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this plug some of the short term

issues without actually dealing in

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the long term meaningful way with

addressing the problems of public

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services in Northern Ireland? We

might get through this year but we

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won't get the benefit if we don't

have proper scrutiny as to how the

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money is spent, in a strategic way,

as opposed to spending more on

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services than we ought to.

And a bit

of false eye on the part of Sinn

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Fein and yourself today. Whenever

you complain about the 4.5 increase

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in domestic rates, you wanted to

portraits up, you wanted to scrap

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the cup.

I do believe that if we're

going to have increase across the

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board, those with the broader

shoulders have to carry more weight.

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So today's increase isn't OK?

I

believe that increases on the public

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should be means tested. The more

money you have, the more you

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contribute, it is a basic principle

of fair government.

People in big

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houses don't is a serious have a lot

of money.

We had revenue imposes,

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and we make sure those who couldn't

afford didn't pay. 4.5 shouldn't be

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across the board. Those struggling

wake-up today knowing inflation is

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hitting them and now they have rates

above inflation.

Part of the point

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is people can understand rates hike

if they know what it is going to do.

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This is a ticket overbudget, it is

cut-and-paste and nobody will see

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any improvement in their services.

Let's pause this because in the

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meantime it was funding for legacy

inquests which was making all the

0:17:310:17:35

headlines.

0:17:350:17:40

A judge ruled that

0:17:420:17:43

Arlene Foster's decision to block

it was "unlawful and flawed".

0:17:430:17:46

Sir Paul Girvan said the former

First Minister was wrong to think

0:17:460:17:48

she could postpone the decision

until an overall political

0:17:480:17:51

agreement on dealing

with the past was reached.

0:17:510:17:52

Our Political Editor,

Mark Devenport, asked the DUP's

0:17:520:17:54

Sammy Wilson for his reaction

to the verdict.

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When we deal with the past, we deal

with it in a fair and balanced way,

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and that one particular aspect of

the past is not examined while other

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parts of the past or ignored. And

that was... That will remain our

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position but I don't want to comment

on the judgment itself.

Should the

0:18:090:18:13

government heed the government's

advice and release the money now?

0:18:130:18:17

That would be a decision for the

government to make. But we will...

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We want to see that dealing with the

past, being dealt with in a fairway,

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where it isn't seen that in the one

particular aspect of the past is

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investigated. We have got a lot of

hurt people in Northern Ireland and

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I think they expect to see fairness

and balance in a way in which we do

0:18:400:18:44

with the past.

Sammy Wilson talking

to us. David Ford, you adjusters

0:18:440:18:53

minister at Stormont, what do you

make of this ruling?

There is a

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certain amount of personal pleasure

that I worked with the lord chief

0:18:590:19:05

justice and the DOJ worked hard to

put together a plan which would have

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commenced the process of speeding up

legacy inquests. It wouldn't have

0:19:100:19:13

dealt with all of them but it was to

get the process under way. I took

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that paper to the Executive, Arlene

Foster refused to table it for

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political reasons and we now have a

clear decision from the High Court

0:19:220:19:27

that was unlawful. That legacy

inquests 's should have been speeded

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up by the provision of extra money.

That is what we wanted to do, that

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is what the Lord Chief Justice

wanted to do. And it was rejected

0:19:350:19:40

for purely political reasons by

Arlene Foster.

0:19:400:19:46

Arlene Foster.

And the Department is

now request during the provision of

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additional funding for legacy

inquests and this can't be postponed

0:19:500:19:53

until an outcome to a political

agreement is resolved. Do you think

0:19:530:19:56

the government should now go ahead

and release the money?

It would

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appear the Secretary of State should

release the money. There is also the

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issue as to the role of the

Department of Justice in the absence

0:20:040:20:08

of a minister. The normal rule was

when ministers had set a direction

0:20:080:20:14

of policy, the civil service

continues to work on that. The

0:20:140:20:18

direction of policy I said was

absolutely clear that the money

0:20:180:20:22

should be provided, should be

requested from the Treasury from the

0:20:220:20:26

money promised by David Cameron and

the DOJ should work with the

0:20:260:20:31

Judiciary Committee police and other

relevant agencies to speed up the

0:20:310:20:34

inquest process. That is something

which is now set, as a ministerial

0:20:340:20:40

direction, and which I trust civil

servants will continue through.

0:20:400:20:44

Mairtin O Muilleoir, Sammy Wilson

asked about this earlier today and

0:20:440:20:46

he says it is up to the government

to release the money or not. That

0:20:460:20:51

seems to indicate the DUP would not

object, which is a possible shift in

0:20:510:20:55

the party's position. If it is that,

would you welcome such a

0:20:550:21:00

development?

I think it is

appalling, and you're showing what

0:21:000:21:05

the price of this Tory-DUP deal is,

that the Lord Chief Justice who has

0:21:050:21:10

vigorously independent, not in the

pocket of any party, he made an

0:21:100:21:14

appeal that we resolve this issue

which causes hurt and pain, the

0:21:140:21:20

British didn't fulfil their

commitment but today to explain that

0:21:200:21:25

away, we have Sammy Wilson on the TV

justifying the unlawful actions of

0:21:250:21:32

the former first Minister and the

judgment of the courts. And sitting

0:21:320:21:36

in judgment now, almost godlike,

over whether or not people will have

0:21:360:21:44

access to the truth.

He was

explaining the DUP's position.

0:21:440:21:48

Arlene Foster made her position

clear which is she didn't believe

0:21:480:21:51

the release of the legacy inquest

funding was balanced. She wanted to

0:21:510:21:56

see it as part of a wider package.

This is why it is appalling because

0:21:560:22:01

Sammy Wilson didn't explain why

Arlene Foster...

Isn't the case Sinn

0:22:010:22:05

Fein has reached agreement with the

government to see 35mm is released

0:22:050:22:10

over five years? That was meant to

be part of the deal. Doesn't look

0:22:100:22:15

like it'll happen any time soon so

should the money be forthcoming

0:22:150:22:20

ASAP?

Remove the politics from it.

The British government made the

0:22:200:22:24

commitment to the Lord Chief

Justice, 35 million over a period of

0:22:240:22:28

years, that money should be

released, and we did have an

0:22:280:22:32

understanding with the British that

they would make sure that happen.

0:22:320:22:35

The deal collapsed because the DUP

could not consummate. Release the

0:22:350:22:41

money and remove it from the

political arena entirely. Let people

0:22:410:22:45

have their inquest.

Do you agree?

Week welcomed the ruling people have

0:22:450:22:52

been waiting for. It was

mean-spirited by Arlene Foster to

0:22:520:22:56

use it as a bargaining chip. Every

time the government and the two big

0:22:560:23:00

parties get into a room, what's

provided for victims is stripped out

0:23:000:23:05

and the political will isn't there

and in my mind, they are covering up

0:23:050:23:10

for each other. It is a bad taste in

people's mouths.

Do you anticipate

0:23:100:23:15

developments in?

We should have

bitten his arm off if he said he

0:23:150:23:21

could have resolved this problem

with £5 million, that money should

0:23:210:23:25

be released, and it will build

trust, create virtuous circles...

0:23:250:23:29

You have to blame Sinn Fein for

this.

Final question... You can't

0:23:290:23:34

blame Sinn Fein.

Final question, do

you think £35 million over five

0:23:340:23:41

years would sort this issue out once

and for all?

I suspect it would be

0:23:410:23:46

more than 35mm is for all the cost

is associated with inquests. The

0:23:460:23:51

important point I put was not that

it was going to resolve the issue

0:23:510:23:55

entirely by get the process under

way, it was going to prove the

0:23:550:23:58

concept as to how we would proceed

to do the full job.

Thanks, folks,

0:23:580:24:02

for coming in to join us.

0:24:020:24:05

The Local Government Auditor

is to be asked to investigate claims

0:24:050:24:08

that £1,500 of rate-payers' money

was used to sponsor

0:24:080:24:10

a table at a DUP dinner.

0:24:100:24:11

The party may also be asked

to refund the cash paid by Mid

0:24:110:24:14

and East Antrim Council.

0:24:140:24:15

The DUP has insisted the dinner,

which was attended by the

0:24:150:24:18

Environment Secretary Michael Gove

in September, was not

0:24:180:24:20

a party fundraiser.

0:24:200:24:21

But a letter released under

a Freedom of Information Request,

0:24:210:24:23

and seen by the View,

has raised questions

0:24:230:24:25

about how the money was paid,

as Enda McClafferty now reports.

0:24:250:24:33

He is the MP who just loves to

network.

This is my office, this is

0:24:350:24:40

where I work.

Rubbing shoulders with

ministers.

I've a nice view

0:24:400:24:47

photographs. I had dinner with

Michael Gove.

That happened last

0:24:470:24:53

year when the Environment Secretary

joined the MP at dinner in this

0:24:530:24:58

hotel at Ballymena. It was billed as

a is this community dinner and

0:24:580:25:04

amongst those who sponsor the table

was the local council. Despite

0:25:040:25:08

questions raised at the time the DUP

always insisted it was not a party

0:25:080:25:12

fundraiser. Does a letter from Ian

Paisley's office to the Council

0:25:120:25:17

chief executive released through a

Freedom of information request

0:25:170:25:19

suggest otherwise? In it, Ian

Paisley asked the council boss to

0:25:190:25:24

make the check for £1500 for a table

payable to the hotel hosting the

0:25:240:25:29

dinner. But not to send it there.

And this is where Ian Paisley wanted

0:25:290:25:36

the cheque sent, to an address on

Church Street in Ballymena. And it

0:25:360:25:42

-- as it turns out it is the DUP

offices. This is the councillor who

0:25:420:25:47

obtained the letter through the

Freedom of information request. She

0:25:470:25:50

says the K the states this was Ian

Paisley's annual constituency

0:25:500:25:55

dinner.

I find it very alarming

because we questioned and I

0:25:550:25:59

personally question the chief

executive around the details of this

0:25:590:26:03

dinner and I seek clarity. They told

me it was not DUP dinner.

Here's

0:26:030:26:10

what happened she tried to raise it

in the chamber this week.

I'm going

0:26:100:26:16

to speak, regardless of whether

you'll my microphone. I will speak.

0:26:160:26:22

I've correspondence which makes it

clear... Order, order, order! You

0:26:220:26:29

cannot speak on the matter.

Unfortunately, my microphone was

0:26:290:26:32

switched off. I wanted to see

clarity about what the chief

0:26:320:26:37

executive new and what the DUP

what's they knew as well and

0:26:370:26:42

following this we will be going to

the local government auditor said

0:26:420:26:46

this can be investigated further.

Ian Paisley wasn't up for talking

0:26:460:26:49

about that and about here is someone

who was there and who interviewed

0:26:490:26:52

the guest speaker. Did it feel like

a DUP fundraiser for him?

It didn't

0:26:520:26:59

feel that way to me. It wasn't

presented that way to me. It was a

0:26:590:27:03

business constituency dinner hosted

by the MP Ian Paisley, something he

0:27:030:27:08

does on a regular basis. He was

hosting it.

What checks did council

0:27:080:27:17

officials make before handing over

that money? Which asked that

0:27:170:27:20

question and this was the response.

0:27:200:27:22

I don't think the council have

handled this well at will. It has

0:27:480:27:52

been very ambiguous. We were told it

was the North Antrim business

0:27:520:27:56

community event but it wasn't Ian

Paisley constituency dinner

0:27:560:28:00

supported by in Paisley himself.

I

think there are big questions. It is

0:28:000:28:06

disgraceful the way the ratepayer

and councillors have been treated.

0:28:060:28:10

We've suffered massive job losses.

Our rates have been increased by

0:28:100:28:15

2.95%.

We asked the DUP for a

response to the councillor 's

0:28:150:28:19

concerns but they don't reply. Ian

Paisley, though, has since hosted

0:28:190:28:25

another dinner, attended this time

by the former minister Priti Patel.

0:28:250:28:30

She, too, is now on his wall. But

this time the local council said no

0:28:300:28:34

thanks when invited to sponsor a

table.

0:28:340:28:38

Enda McClafferty reporting.

0:28:380:28:39

Let's hear what tonight's

commentators make of

0:28:390:28:40

what we've been discussing.

0:28:400:28:41

Deirdre Heenan and Newton

Emerson are with me.

0:28:410:28:45

Let's talk about the budget first

bowl. Nugent, any surprises as far

0:28:450:28:51

as you're concerned?

No, I think

it's a mistake for the other parties

0:28:510:28:55

to complain about the budget when

it's really one of the things that

0:28:550:28:58

we don't have to complain about. The

real issue this budget reveals is

0:28:580:29:03

that the DUP, having screwed up the

best deal on unionism could possibly

0:29:030:29:07

have got at Stormont, has retreated

to the Westminster comfort zone for

0:29:070:29:11

the duration, and this has given it

a great headline to start that. The

0:29:110:29:15

debate

0:29:150:29:20

debate that we were having about the

Stormont talks has flipped

0:29:200:29:22

immediately around to the budget as

if the catastrophe of the past month

0:29:220:29:25

has been forgotten, and now we're

arguing about alleged Tory hostility

0:29:250:29:27

and the nit-picking details of

finance, when the real problem is

0:29:270:29:30

that this budget is a breach of the

1999 act, it is completely outside

0:29:300:29:34

the terms of the Good Friday

Agreement. This is the different

0:29:340:29:39

between the two other patch up

budgets. It is unambiguously direct

0:29:390:29:43

rule. We have been tipped into this

limbo and nobody seems to care.

Did

0:29:430:29:47

the DUP not say tonight, we have

delivered an extra £410 million for

0:29:470:29:53

everyone in Ireland has blogged it

would be churlish to say, we don't

0:29:530:29:57

need money. We need the money.

On

the other hand, it flies in the good

0:29:570:30:03

face of good government. There is no

accountability, no transparency, no

0:30:030:30:08

consultation. We don't know what

this money is going to be spent on.

0:30:080:30:12

We are told infrastructure,

education and health. We don't know

0:30:120:30:15

where is the political direction for

this. In health, we are told it is

0:30:150:30:20

going to implement the report. We

don't have the structures in and

0:30:200:30:24

systems in place to implement this.

The civil servants that we have are

0:30:240:30:28

risk averse. Listening to the RHI on

it daily basis, they are going to be

0:30:280:30:33

more risk averse. The idea that they

are going to lead a programme of

0:30:330:30:39

transformation is quite frankly

ridiculous. It will be keep the ship

0:30:390:30:43

going, steady the ship, as you work,

keep the show on the road. But we

0:30:430:30:46

will not get a programme of

transformation, there is no

0:30:460:30:50

strategic direction, and we

absolutely need strategic direction,

0:30:500:30:54

particularly in health and

education.

They didn't want any

0:30:540:30:58

announcement on MLAs' play to take

the gloss off this announcement --

0:30:580:31:02

MLAs' pay.

This is the big launch

effectively of their new Westminster

0:31:020:31:08

period, as Arlene Foster has

effectively said, Stormont can't

0:31:080:31:11

come back this side of Brexit,

really, what it looks like, given

0:31:110:31:15

the timetable of these negotiations.

With a Tory deal but can run on

0:31:150:31:19

until perhaps the end of the decade,

they are sitting back and thinking,

0:31:190:31:23

we'll see what else crops up. They

don't have any other options, they

0:31:230:31:26

have walked away from the best

possible outcome they could have

0:31:260:31:29

had. They are going to simply sit

back and Westminster, see how they

0:31:290:31:33

can operate things from there and

see what they can make of Brexit.

0:31:330:31:41

And in the meantime, we have been

left with neither direct rule nor

0:31:410:31:44

devolution. And no particular

urgency, it seems, to resolve that

0:31:440:31:45

conundrum.

For some long as the

confident and supply arrangement

0:31:450:31:50

continues at Westminster, the DUP is

in a pretty powerful position and

0:31:500:31:53

today proves it.

I don't know that

they are in a powerful position.

0:31:530:31:57

They are enjoying the position that

they are in, but it could go at any

0:31:570:32:01

time, it could be short lived. We

have a fragile Conservative

0:32:010:32:04

government. They don't have that

much power leveraged. The

0:32:040:32:11

interesting thing is, yes, they have

delivered a budget and the money but

0:32:110:32:15

we are still in a political vacuum.

We don't have direct rule devolution

0:32:150:32:19

and we have no ministerial

direction. We have nobody there to

0:32:190:32:23

make the decisions to spend the

money. Well done them for bringing

0:32:230:32:27

the money, but if it can't be

delivered in the way it's needed, so

0:32:270:32:30

what.

Let's talk about legacy just

to close. You confident that legacy

0:32:300:32:36

inquest funding could be

0:32:360:32:42

inquest funding could be released

sooner rather than later?

Not

0:32:450:32:46

necessarily. I think you have to

bear in mind that traditional

0:32:460:32:48

reviews are police actions, and

losing a traditional -- judicial

0:32:480:32:50

review doesn't mean that you have

broken the law, the Government has

0:32:500:32:53

stalled this for decades and

Stormont has ignored judicial review

0:32:530:32:55

is completely.

He directed them to

look at it again stop your civil

0:32:550:33:02

servants are averse to breaking the

law.

When Martin O'Neill said that

0:33:020:33:07

legacy should not be a political

issue, it is. It is still in the mix

0:33:070:33:12

of all the other and soft issues at

Stormont.

Deirdre, final. Log one

0:33:120:33:17

might hope that this decision may

embolden the Secretary of State.

0:33:170:33:24

James Brokenshire talked about

consultation and September last year

0:33:240:33:27

and we are still waiting on it. One

may hope that this may give Arlene

0:33:270:33:32

Foster the cover to say, I'm going

to move it on and do it so boy

0:33:320:33:38

interesting thoughts, thanks both

very much indeed for joining us

0:33:380:33:40

tonight.

0:33:400:33:41

Thanks, both.

0:33:410:33:42

That's it from The View

for this week.

0:33:420:33:44

The Sunday Politics is here

at 11:35am on BBC One as usual.

0:33:440:33:47

And, as International Women's Day

draws to an end, let's close

0:33:470:33:50

with some familiar faces

from the local political world.

0:33:500:33:52

Bye-bye.

0:33:520:33:59

MUSIC

0:33:590:34:04

Join Mark Carruthers and guests on Thursdays for The View - the week's political news, comments and expert analysis. The View reports events at Stormont and Westminster and how they are affecting issues such as health and the economy. It follows the ups and downs of the political parties and debates the highs and lows of the political week. It also has an alternative view on the week's political headlines.