Northern Ireland

UK deficit to impact NI for years - Sammy Wilson

Sammy Wilson
Image caption Sammy Wilson called for a spirit of financial maturity and realism

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has said the need to tackle the UK deficit will have an impact on the Northern Ireland Executive for many years to come.

Opening a debate on the NI budget in the assembly, the minister called for a new spirit of maturity and realism.

He urged committees to examine the existing budgets of the departments they shadow.

They should do so in case they conceal funding for lower priority areas which may no longer be affordable, he said.

The minister said tough decisions would have to be taken and politicians may have to face up to "the unpalatable possibility" of raising local revenue, likely to be a reference to water charges and rates.

He urged any MLAs who may call for more funding for particular areas to put forward sensible ideas, not just for new spending, but also for where any finance should be taken from.

More on this story