[Sinn Fein]

18th December 2001

Time to Challenge British plans for back door privatisation

Sinn Fein Finance Spokesperson, Chairperson of the Assembly Finance & Personnel Committee, Mid Ulster MLA Francie Molloy has said that it is time that the Executive challenged the British governments' plans for the privatisation of public services through the back door.

Francie Molloy said:

``The British government is intent on pursuing a particular economic and political agenda. The consequences for our public services here and our levels of public expenditure are very serious.

``My Finance and Personnel Committee has already conducted an Inquiry into the use of Private Finance as either Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) or Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). Our primary conclusion was that public money was the best way to maintain public services.

``The creeping privatisation of our public services that is being propagated by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown is unfortunately setting our own spending agenda. It is time to challenge the British governments plans for back door privatisation.

``The Executive as a whole is being forced down this particular road and the consequences for tying up future expenditure plans have not been properly thought out by the Finance Minister. We need new ideas and a fresh approach.

``Key players in the Executive have not challenged this policy and we may well have to live with the long term effects of ill thought out privatisation. We only have to look at the privatisation of the electricity generators to see that it is ordinary men and women who paying the cost of such practices.''

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