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Is SIF another blank cheque? - Dickson

December 14, 2016

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has asked if the Social Investment Fund is turning into another scheme where taxpayers money seems endless.

Mr Dickson was speaking after it was revealed that the SIF programme needs another £13.1 million on top of the £80 million already allocated. Stewart Dickson said: "Across Northern Ireland there are many worthwhile projects funded through SIF that are making a difference to people's lives.

"Unfortunately, those taking decisions about the scheme are not so effective. We have seen cases where organisations, such as a Charter NI, are hand selected by the First and deputy First Ministers, without due process, to administer £1.7million of public money. There are serious concerns about the involvement of paramilitaries in Charter NI, but questions must also be asked about what exactly there are doing to justify hundreds of thousands of pounds in management fees.

"A transparent process of administering the SIF fund could save hundreds of thousands of pounds of unnecessary management fees, and be used for public benefit, not to benefit the chosen few. Will there ever be an upper limit set for SIF, or will it turn out to be a blank cheque without accountability?"



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