Northern Ireland

NICVA report suggests 10 year 'gloom' of spending cuts

Cuts in public spending in Northern Ireland will shape people's lives for at least the next ten years, according to a new report.

The independent study carried out for the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) said the impact on NI would be particularly hard.

Budget cuts could be £1.2bn over the next five years, the report suggests.

In April, Finance Minister Sammy Wilson detailed £367m of cuts throughout 2010.

But further cuts will be required in the autumn when the government announces it plans in the Comprehensive Spending Review.

The report predicted that the impact of such cuts would be particularly hard for Northern Ireland, which employs 31% of people in the public sector, compared to 25% in the UK as a whole.

Executive ministers are still considering where to make savings but, on the basis of the report, NICVA conclude that wage cuts and job losses are very likely.

The report also identifies a variety of options for saving money centrally.

The £1.2bn savings could be made by cutting the budgets of all departments equally by 8.4%.

Another choice would be to ring fence the department of health, which would mean 15% cuts for all other departments.

The report also looked at a third option, to ring fence the health and education, which would mean 22% cuts for all other departments.

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