I would appreciate that because the Minister for Finance was pretty clear in his answer, stating that any proposed cuts which take effect in 2015 would not have to be considered in terms of a neutral budget.
On the capitation grant, like all new Ministers, when she entered office the Minister got a briefing document from her Department. It was a fairly extensive document, which I read. Page 89 of the document touches on the issue of capitation grants, where it states:
The adequacy of the capitation funding for schools is a critical issue. Any further reduction, if it were to prove necessary for budgetary reasons, may create a risk that some schools would not be able to cover critical costs, such as insurance, heat and light, the absence of which could trigger school closures.
The Minister's own senior officials, including the Secretary General of the Department in his briefing document to the Minister in July, told her that any further reduction in capitation grants may lead to schools closing. It baffles me that she would even consider proceeding with a further 1% reduction in the capitation grant when her senior officials in the Department are telling her of these consequences. Something has to give.