Sir, I read with interest your coverage of the Comprehensive Spending Review (, 22 October).

We understand the need to cut the deficit, but we are deeply worried that this review is cutting too much too soon and could greatly prolong the recession in Northern Ireland.

The Chancellor's announcement will mean that many thousands of civil servants in Northern Ireland could lose their jobs, which will mean a dramatic reduction in consumer spending that will hit an already struggling retail sector.

I hope that our trade unions will work with the Executive so that a freeze on pay and recruitment will be preferable before public sector workers face being laid off.

We would also welcome a Sir Philip Green-type exercise by the NI Executive, where a senior independent private sector representative can conduct a review on how to cut the fat out of our local public sector and suggest greater efficiencies. An urgent review of quangos is absolutely vital to cut costs. Cutting quangos is better than cutting front-line services.

We also need to be giving a greater priority to stimulating growth in our economy rather than this constant focus on cuts as it is our private sector that will take us out of recession.

Glyn Roberts, chief executive, Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association