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An Bord Snip recommends 17,300 job cuts

16/07/2009 - 15:08:32

An Bord Snip's long-anticipated report into cuts in public spending includes recommendations for large-scale job cuts of 17,300 in the public sector,

cuts of 5% to all social welfare benefits, an increase in hospital charges and cuts of €746m in the education sector.

An Bord Snip overview:

Social Welfare:

- Cuts of €1.8bn, but no staff cuts at the Department of Social Welfare.

- Social welfare payments reduced by 5%, resulting in savings of €850m. An overhaul of child benefit to yield savings of €513m.

- Other cuts at the department include an end to Community Employment Schemes for those already on benefit, cutting benefits for dental optical and hearing services, cutting the Family Support Agency, grading jobseekers allowance by age, changing the eligibility for Family Income Supplement and taxing the household benefits package.

Health:

- Bord Snip recommends budget cuts of €1.2bn and 540 staff cuts at the Department of Health and Children.

- The proposals include a 10% reduction in the size of the department over the next three years, changes to the Drugs Payment Scheme and the income guidelines for the Medical Card, the introduction of a €5 prescription charge for those previously receiving free prescriptions, an increase in hospital charges and changes to the Fair Deal scheme.

- The board also recommends greater use of generic medicines and changes to disability and mental health agencies and organisations.

Education:

- A total of 6,390 staff cuts and savings of €746m is proposed in the education sector. The changes would mean an increase in the pupil teacher ratio, cuts in capitation grants, private school grants and spending on research and development as well as cuts in the number of special needs assistants and English language support teachers.

- The measures also provide for the merging of smaller primary schools, cuts in school transport and cuts to third level structures.

Agriculture:

An Bord Snip is proposing spending cuts of €305m and staff cuts of 1,140 for the Department of Agriculture. This would include a radical overhaul of Teagasc, an end to the Suckler Cow Scheme, a reduction in the spending on the Disadvantaged Area Compensatory Allowance Scheme. The cuts would also mean the closure of REPS 4 and no rollover from REPS 2 and 3 into REPS 4.

Environment:

The Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government would suffer thirty staff cuts and €130m in spending cuts under the proposals. This would include cuts of €100m to local government including the axing of 12 county or town councils.

Trade and Employment:

- The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment would see total cuts of €237.7m, and a reduction in staff by 594. It is proposed this would be attained by merging the regional offices and sharing the resources of Enterprise Ireland, the IDA and Fás for savings of €87m.

- The rest of the money would be saved by reducing funding for science, technology and innovation activities, streamlining the functions of Enterprise Ireland and reducing training allowances for the unemployed, as well as cutting-off Fás’s allocation for Services to Business and Skillnets programmes.

Community Affairs:

The Bord has proposed €151m in cuts to the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, including staff cuts of 196. €64m would be saved by cuts to Community Services Programmes, with €20.8m saved by cuts to Gaeltacht Schemes and a reduction of €20m in funding for infrastructure in the islands.

Transport:

- It is proposed a total of €127m would be cut from the Department of Transport’s budget, with the loss of 80 jobs. This would include a cut of €55m from CIE companies, €20m of cuts to road maintenance and a €15m reduction to regional air services.

- The report recommends a further €25m could be saved by axing the Rural Transport Scheme, outsourcing vehicle and driver testing and cutting the budget of the Road Safety Authority.

Arts:

The Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism would see a total reduction in funds of €104.8m, including a cut in funding for the Sports Council by almost €18m and a cut in the allocation for the Horse and Greyhound Fund by €16.4m. A total of 170 staff cuts is proposed

Justice:

Cuts to the Department of Justice would total €136.4m, with cuts in pay and allowances for staff -including Gardaí - accounting for almost half of that figure. Staff cuts would total 540.

Energy:

The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources would see total cuts of €65.6m and staff cuts of 106. Cuts to energy efficiency schemes run by Sustainable Energy Ireland and direct funding to TG4 would comprise the bulk of the savings.

Defense:

Cost-cutting measures in the Department of Defence would see a reduction in Defence Forces personnel by 500 as part of staff cuts totalling 520. It’s proposed this could save €53m.

Linky http://iol.breakingnews.ie/news/ireland/an...uts-418944.html

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