Tuesday, 16 February 2010

What has the Assembly Ever Done For Us?

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson began the debate on the Budget yesterday. This is likely to be the toughest ever budget in NI with significant cuts to most departments but most publicly the Health Department. So perhaps to get his response in early he outlined what he thought the Assembly had succeeded in doing in the last 12 months

"Since last April:
· 14 major school building projects have been completed – with a further two projects likely to complete soon;
· Funding of almost £203million was made available to our two universities to cover teaching, learning and research;
· A new technology and skills centre opened at the South West College and new facilities are under construction at the Belfast Metropolitan College.
· In the Health Service, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service took receipt of 66 new ambulances;
· Construction work has begun on the new South West Hospital in Enniskillen and new Health and Wellbeing Centres in West Belfast;
· A new Dementia Services Development Centre and the Knockbreda Health and Care Centre has opened in Belfast whilst the Downe Hospital in Downpatrick opened in May;
· A £17million contract has been awarded to provide additional dentists in access 'hotspots' across Northern Ireland.
· 1,268 farm businesses have received letters of offer in relation to the first tranche of the Farm Modernisation Programme, whilst farmers have benefitted through funding of £300million under the Common Agricultural Policy;
· £2.1billion pounds of social security benefits and income support was made available to support people across Northern Ireland;
· 1,750 social and over 500 affordable houses were built, leaving us on track to deliver 10,000 social and affordable homes by 2013 and, in so doing, helping us support the construction industry during challenging times."

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