The DUP has produced a set of proposals (pdf file) on how the budgets cuts could be dealt with and the budget re-ordered to drive the economy forward. It aims to:
"balance our budget and provide the same range of services, to the same high standards, without the community feeling any appreciable level of pain...ensure that Northern Ireland emerges from the present difficulties stronger than ever to face the future."
Its package of proposals on the revenue budget includes:
- Unfreezing the regional rate by raising it at the rate of inflation for the next four years and also capping the district rate to the rate of inflation as well.
- No water charges.
- Civil Service Pay freeze for those earning above £21k a year.
- Legislation to end any entitlement to one step pay progression.
- Reducing perfromance bonuses
- Ministerial pay reduced by 5-10% through voluntary return.
- Reduce use of consultants.
- Financial Management e.g. identifying and dealing with under-spends
- Freeze in civil service recuritment.
- Quango review with proposals for abolition, merger, sharing of back office swervices or return to the department.
- Better Asset Ultilisation - the second highest cost of government is the public estate and this seeks to manage it better.
- Continuing to tackle absenteeism.
- MLAs cut.
- Departments cut to 8.
- Procurement procedures overhaul.
- Review of North-South and East-West spending and approaches.
- Efficiency Savings of 2-3% per year.
- Commitment in principle to taking and using Corporation Tax powers.
- Prioritisation of disadvantaged communities.
- Greater Utilisation of Community and Voluntary Sector.
On capital spending it recommends:
- A transfer of £100m from revenue to capital in the early years of the CSR
- New revenue streams for capital e.g. rather than selling the Port of Belfast it provides an annual dividend used for capital spending.
- Asset disposal (later in the CSR period to allow the market to recover)
- Private sector mechanism e.g. joint ventures
- Sale and leaseback of public sector assets