[Sinn Fein]

4 December 2000

Are we spending too much on Private Consultancy Firms?

Sinn Fein Economy Spokesperson, Upper Bann MLA Dr Dara O'Hagan has asked whether we are spending too much on Private Consultancy firms, after the Minister of Finance and Personnel Mark Durkan revealed, in an answer to a written question, that over 57 million has been spent on Private Consultancy Firms since 1995/96.

Dr O'Hagan said:

``For the financial year 1999/00 over 10.5 million has been spent by eight departments on private consultancy firms carrying out consultation.

``In total 57.4 million has been handed out to private consultancy firms in the five financial years leading up to 1999/00. Urgent answers are needed to determine if this massive use of public money represents good value for money.

``The questions must be: Are we spending too much on Private Consultancy Firms? Is there full accountability? Which private consultancy firms are getting this money? Are they giving us value for money?

``I'm sure many ordinary people will be very concerned, disgusted even, that so much money is finding it's way into private companies when it is clear that our public services simply do not have enough money to invest in our hospitals, schools and our infrastructure.''

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