So George Osborne has revealed his spending review, again underlining the fact that government has to take harsh measures to try and reduce our debt mountain, and balance our trade figures.
Workers at the coalface of commerce, will in some way or other have to tighten belts still further, with fewer services being provided. Despite all the forecasts when this Coalition Government came to power, our nation still has horrendous debts, and everybody is finding life much tougher.
So to hold a meeting of just eight heads of administrations, plus two EEC delegates, at an admittedly glorious countryside location in Northern Ireland, was not practising what Governments are preaching in relation to austerity. The cost of security alone is reported to be well over £50 million.
All of this has to be paid for by the taxpayers who are enduring hard times, many having no job, or working for the same rate that they have earned for the last few years.
If it is necessary to have these annual meetings, and in these days of secure video links, I question this, surely, if Northern Ireland was the preferred location, some of the hotels around Belfast International Airport would have been a much cheaper option.
With inflation moving upwards again, and with no chance of wages and salaries following suit, it would have been an opportunity for all governments to underline the fact to their electorates that they were looking at any cost-saving measures available.
This did not happen. Nor despite all the spin, were any decisions taken that will be beneficial to workers at the coalface, either now or in the near future. No unanimity on Syria, no fiscal agreements that will reduce financial hardship world-wide anytime soon.
In fact the only tangible agreement manifest was the decision by all male members not to wear ties. Only Angela Merkel, the German Prime Minister maintained sartorial elegance. If this trend is to continue, perhaps she will appear next time in a halter neck top.
In these hard times, surely a waste of taxpayer’s money.
* Russell Luckock is chairman of pressings firm AE Harris