Tuesday, 9 March 2010
On 11 February officials from the Ulster-Scots Agency gave evidence before the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure at the Northern Ireland Assembly. A number of interesting points emerged from the session:
The agency's 2010 budget foresees £1.76 million being spent on "outward-facing work" against £1 million being spent in "staff and running costs", meaning that 36% of its total income will be going on the latter.
It is not clear under which heading the more than £2,500 spent on branded Santa hats for rugby supporters at Ravenhill would come.
However, by way of comparison, a 2005 report in the Guardian stated that for charities "Administration costs tend to be around 15%".
The officials also confirmed that the agency's new offices in the old Donaldson & Lyttle shop on the corner of Great Victoria Street and Bruce Street cost £95,000 for three floors, plus rates, though the agency occupies only one floor.
John Hunter, the interim agency chairman, stated:
"The ground floor provides the opportunity to establish a visitor and welcome centre. Budgetary pressures have prevented us from opening the ground floor for such a purpose, and, in the context of the current budgetary pressures, we cannot see it happening in 2010 either. We use the ground floor for events."
"The rental costs are £95,000 for the three floors: £25,000 for the ground floor; £48,000 for the first floor; and £22,000 for the second floor."