Finance minister faces grilling on draft budget

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson is was questioned by the Finance Committee about the Executive's draft budget.

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The extra £200m per year requested by the health minister could almost wipe out some government departments in NI, an Assembly committee has heard.

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson is being questioned by the Finance Committee about the Executive's draft budget.

He said most ministers were "playing ball" over budgetary allocations and had got "down to the job".

However he said Health Minister Michael McGimpsey had been causing "a public furore" about the budget.

The draft budget is aimed at saving £4bn over the next four years, with cuts planned across all departments.

Mr Wilson told committee members where he hoped to secure additional revenue.

Opportunities

"As a result of the asset realisation management we hope to bring £100m over the four years," he said.

"Most of that is loaded towards the end of the period because obviously we want to make sure that the opportunities are maximised.

"Hopefully the market will have changed by then and anyway we have to get the bundles of assets together and look at whether we're going to go for sale and lease back or whatever happens to there. There is also the money from the Belfast harbour."

The deadline for the consultation period was extended for a week because of the delay in publishing the plans.

Individuals and interested groups have until the 16 February to consider the proposals.

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