Clarke concerned at lack of detail in Social Investment Fund plans

Newry Times News Posted by
Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Alliance Newcastle Councillor Patrick Clarke has expressed his serious concern at the lack of details in the Social Investment Fund plans that have been recently unveiled by the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM).

Clarke stated: “Whilst I welcome any proposals that will help us tackle deprivation, unemployment and social issues, however, it is clear that OFMDFM has been anything but clear and transparent about their plans. From the information just released, there is very little detail as to how the groups for the nine areas will be run. OFMDFM only gave the OFMDFM Committee that scrutinises their actions a day’s notice about a launch event for their plans back in September. I have no idea why they did not give the committee more advance notice when they have done so for events on other issues.”

He continued, “The Social Investment Fund I believe could be spent better in other areas such as the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme as this is the Executive’s main flagship programme to tackle social disadvantage. It appears to me that the £80 million of public fund, which was diverted into the Social Development Fund, will be administered by the two largest political parties namely the DUP and Sinn Fein with no structures in place to administer this huge fund.”

“With major cutbacks in the welfare system, and many individuals and families facing financial hardship and struggling to pay bills, I find the £80million could have been directed to help these people that are in need of the most help,” he added.

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