This government is winging it – Cannan

Alf Cannan, MHK for Michael

Alf Cannan, MHK for Michael

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Backbench MHK Alfred Cannan has launched a stinging attack on Allan Bell’s administration, accusing the government of lacking coherent policies.

Michael MHK Mr Cannan, chairman on the Civil Service Commission, says the government is heading for the fiscal cliff and needs to change course.

In an article posted on his website, he writes: ‘This government has no coherent policies and no central themes that are meaningful and understandable. It would appear spending has not been prioritised, a central vision for the future appears not to have been agreed and Ministers are desperately running round trying to implement savings and yet at the same time protect their “empires”.

‘It is my assertion that this government is “winging it” – desperately searching for answers and policies in isolation and, sooner or later it will come crashing down.

‘If it survives, it will be a limp, ineffectual shell of a government, living purely hand-to-mouth as MHKs seek to protect their electoral base in the second half of their term in office.

‘We are currently set fair for the fiscal cliff but it is not too late to change tack.

‘My message to CoMin is this: stop, take a deep breath and go back to the drawing board. Be clear on your vision and identify your essential spending priorities centrally.

‘Focus on what government will look like in 2016, get central agreement in CoMin for the unavoidable outsourcing and privatisation process. Be strong in the VAT negotiations – it is vital that we do not lose further revenues; review Economic Development and ensure it is fit for purpose and deal with the public sector pensions liability.

‘Above all, communicate effectively with the public and you may, just, turn it around.’

Chief Minister Allan Bell MHK said Mr Cannan has used the same line of argument since his election – but that he shared the Michael MHK’s concerns that some departments and their ministers were not as engaged in the scope of government process as they should be.

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