Article from the October 2005 issue of the Socialist
newspaper of the Socialist Party, Irish section of the CWI
Giving away the family silver
By Paul Dale, NIPSA Civil Service Executive (Personal Capacity)
NEW LABOUR have announced their plan to boost the "ailing" private sector in N.Ireland -sell off civil service buildings and guarantee to rent them back. With such a scheme, the speculator just can't lose.
Phase one of Workplace 2010 has just been announced and covers the main bulk of NI civil service buildings in terms of value. The 88 properties include the main Belfast offices and the Stormont estate, all the Jobs and Benefits offices and seven large offices outside Belfast. These are valued at £235m or up to 80 % of the total value of NICS accommodation.
An added incentive will be the £100m scheme to renovate and refurbish the buildings. This is the ultimate PPP/PFI scheme, as the NICS then commit themselves to rent the buildings back and the privateers will manage the buildings they now own as they see fit.
The drive behind Workplace 2010 is a New Labour belief that not only is private best but also that the private sector in the North needs to be "incentivised".
The property speculators will be laughing all the way to the bank while civil servants will lose out- forced into smaller space with lower standards of accommodation. NIPSA must campaign to oppose this move.