Ulster Unionist Leader, Mike Nesbitt MLA, has expressed his shock at the scale of failure of the First Minister and deputy First Minister in delivering the Social Investment Fund, an £80 million project aimed at tackling dereliction and deprivation in our society.
Mr Nesbitt, who is also Chair of the Committee of OFMdFM, said:
“This initiative was part of the Programme for Government and should have been completed by 30 March of this year. But now we learn that only 1 million of the £80 million actually hit the ground within the three year timeframe of the programme. Given Northern Ireland’s high rates of dereliction and deprivation, and the on-going austerity measures coming out of Westminster, this is a failure on a scandalous scale, with our people suffering while OFMdFM effectively sit with £79 million in the bank. It now appears they cannot complete the spend before November of next year.
“OFMdFM have a track record of delivering nothing for our people beyond all-singing, all-dancing announcements that signify little. It is clear the Social Investment Fund, much like Together: Building a United Community, was launched without proper thought or consultation.
“This cannot be as good as it gets, and the Ulster Unionist Party calls on OFMdFM to show some humility in admitting they got it so very wrong that they could spend only 1.25% of what they promised those in most need in society. This was a failure to understand what is involved in delivering good government."