16 July 2009

'Bord Snip' - The List of Recommendations

The 'Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes' has identified € 5.3 billion in potential public sector savings. The group's full report, which fills 80 pages - plus over 200 pages of appendices - has just been published. It recommends 17,300 job cuts in Ireland's public services, a 5% reduction of all social welfare payments and a lot more.

'An Bord Snip (Nua)', as the group of four experts is popularly called, was chaired by the economist Prof. Colm McCarthy (photo, with the report) of University College Dublin (UCD), who said today that the Irish government was currently borrowing € 400 million per week and having to pay a substantial rate of interest on those borrowings. This could not continue.

The complete report, with all details and appendices, can be seen on the official website of the Department of Finance (which has already crashed owing to massive interest in the matter) or accessed through the website of Ireland's national broadcaster RTÉ (www.rte.ie).

In order to keep things to a manageable size, I will list here only the main proposals of 'An Bord Snip (Nua)', grouped together under each government department. This will give you the bulk of the recommendations.

Dept. of Social & Family Affairs
* Cuts to all social welfare payments by 5% - Saving: € 850 million
* Reduction and changes to child benefit - Saving: € 513 million
* An end to receiving two welfare payments - Saving: € 100 million
* An end to payments for Community Employment Schemes for those already on benefits - Saving: € 100 million
* Cutting benefits for dental, optical and hearing services - Saving: € 92 million
* Grading of jobseekers allowance by age - Saving: € 70 million
* Cutting the Family Support Agency - Saving: € 30 million
* Changing eligibility for Family Income Supplement - Saving: € 20 million
* Taxing household benefits package - Saving: € 11.6 million

Staff cuts: none - Total savings: € 1.8 billion

Dept. of Health and Children
* Reduce the size of the Department by 10% per year over the next three years - Saving: € 11 million
* Reductions of HSE staff - Saving: € 391.3 million
* Revise the income guidelines for the Medical Card to the basic rate of social welfare, which is the jobseekers allowance - Saving: € 100 million
* Increase the threshold for the Drugs Payment Scheme from € 100 to € 125 a month - Saving: € 37 million
* Those previously receiving free prescriptions must now pay € 5 for each prescription - Saving: € 70 million
* Hold an open competition to provide services under the General Medical Services scheme - Saving: € 370 million
* Increase Hospital Charges - Saving: € 6 million
* Increase charges for private facilities in public hospitals by 20% - Saving: € 50 million
* Hospitals and clinicians must provide generic medicines, off-patent drugs and value-for-money treatments - Saving: € 30 million
* Changes to agencies and organisations in the disability and mental health area which receive State funding - Saving: € 50 million
* Changes to the Fair Deal scheme with the individual to contribute more to nursing home care from their own residence - Saving: € 50 million
* Means test for Homecare packages - Saving: € 24 million

Staff cuts: 540 - Total savings: € 1.2 billion

Dept. of Education & Science
* Staff and pay cuts in primary and post primary schools - Saving: € 150 million
* Staff cuts at third level - Saving: € 140 million
* Cuts to number of special needs assistants and English language support teachers - Saving: € 81 million
* Increased pupil teacher ratio at primary and post primary - Saving: € 80 million
* Change to student support grant - Saving: € 70 million
* Cuts to capitation grants for primary and post primary schools - Saving: € 25 million
* Cuts to research and development - Saving: € 27.5 million
* Cuts to grants for private schools - Saving: € 25 million
* Merging of smaller primary schools - Saving: € 25 million
* Cuts to school transport - Saving: € 25 million
* Integration of senior travelling training - Saving: € 25 million
* Cuts to third level structures - Saving: € 23.7 million

Staff cuts: 6,390 - Total savings: € 746 million

Dept. of Agriculture
* Reduce expenditure on the Disadvantaged Area Compensatory Allowance Scheme by 30% - Saving: € 66 million
* Terminate the Suckler Cow Scheme - Saving: € 44 million
* Close REPS 4 and no rollover from REPS 2 and 3 into REPS 4 - Saving: € 80 million
* Reduce Teagasc staff numbers, rationalise Teagasc and Dept. offices - Saving: € 37 million

Staff cuts: 1,140 - Total savings: € 305 million

Dept. of Enterprise, Trade & Employment
* Merge the regional offices and shared services of Enterprise Ireland, IDA and FÁS - Saving: € 87 million
* A single reduced funding stream for all science, technology & innovation activities across all departments - Saving: € 53 million
* Streamline all support of Irish enterprises and marketing functions in Enterprise Ireland - Saving: € 10 million
* Stop funding the FÁS Services to Business and Skillnets programmes - Saving: € 27 million
* Cuts to training allowances for the unemployed - Saving: € 24.5 million

Staff cuts: 594 - Total savings: € 237.7 million

Dept. of Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs
* Cuts to Community Services Programmes - Saving: € 64 million
* Cuts to Gaeltacht Schemes - Saving: € 20.8 million
* Cuts to islands infrastructure - Saving: € 20 million

Staff cuts: 196 - Total savings: € 151 million

In a separate suggestion it is recommended to abolish this department and allocate its functions to other government departments.

Dept. of Environment, Heritage & Local Government
* Cuts to local government including an end to 12 county or town councils - Saving: € 100 million
* Further efficiencies - Saving: € 30 million

Staff cuts: 30 - Total savings: € 130 million

Dept. of Transport
* Efficiencies among CIE companies - Saving: € 55 million
* Cuts to road maintenance - Saving: € 20 million
* Cuts to regional air services - Saving: € 15 million
* Axing the Rural Transport Scheme - Saving: € 11 million
* Outsourcing of driver and vehicle testing - Saving: € 10 million
* Cuts to the Road Saferty Authority - Saving: € 4.2 million
* Merging the National Roads Authority and the Railway Procurement Agency - Saving: € 3 million
* Merging the National Vehicle and Driver File into the Road Safety Authority - Saving: € 2 million

Staff cuts: 80 - Total savings: € 127.1 million

Dept. of Arts, Sports & Tourism
* Cuts in allocation to tourism and marketing - Saving: € 27 million
* Cut in grant to Sports Council - Saving: € 17.7 million
* Cut allocation to Horse and Greyhound Fund - Saving: € 16.4 million

Staff cuts: 170 - Total savings: € 104.8 million

Dept. of Justice, Equality & Law Reform
* Cuts to pay and allowances for justice sector staff - including Gardai - Saving: € 65 million
* Cuts to the courts service - Saving: € 13.5 million
* Cuts in immigration staff - Saving: € 10 million
* Transfer disability functions of department to Department of Health - Saving: € 2.6 million
* Cuts to Youth Detention Centres - Saving: € 2.5 million

Staff cuts: 540 - Total savings: € 136.4 million

Dept. of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources
* Cuts to energy efficiency schemes run by Sustainable Energy Ireland - Saving: € 40 million
* Cuts to direct funding to TG4 - to be partially funded from licence fee - Saving: € 10 million

Staff cuts: 106 - Total savings: € 65.6 million

Dept. of Defence
* Measures including a reduction in Defence Forces personnel by more than 500

Staff cuts: 520 - Total savings: € 53 million

Dept. of Finance
* Cuts to the Office of Public Works - reducing spare capacity and rental costs - Saving: € 21 million

Staff cuts: 660 - Total savings: € 82.8 million

Dept. of Foreign Affairs
* Cuts to overseas missions - Saving: € 15 million
* Cuts to overseas aid - Saving: € 14.8 million
* Cuts to Support for Irish Emigrants - Saving: € 1 million

Staff cuts: 65 - Total savings: € 41.7 million

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission
* Changes to some operations - Saving: € 6 million
* Cuts to Oireachtas Allowances and Benefits - Saving: € 1.5 million

Staff cuts: 42 - Total savings: € 7.8 million

National Treasury Management Agency
* Reduce staff and other administrative costs - Saving: € 5.3 million
* Changes at the State Claims Agency, including payment schemes, legal fees and risk management services

Staff cuts: 40 - Total savings: € 5.3 million

Dept. of the Taoiseach
* An end to the National Economic & Social Development Organisation - except for the National Economic & Social Council - Saving: € 4 million
* Axing the Law Reform Commission - Saving: € 2.8 million
* Cuts to the cost of Census 2011 - Saving: € 2.2 million

Staff cuts: 77 - Total savings: € 17.5 million

Total staff cuts: 17,300 - Total savings: € 5.3 billion

These are the facts and figures, for everyone to see and to peruse. I am going to read the whole document now again, analyse the details, and will later provide you with my comments and suggestions.

The Emerald Islander

1 comment:

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