Northern Ireland

Warning over £2bn spending cuts for Northern Ireland

It has been predicted that Northern Ireland public spending cuts could be double what were originally expected.

The Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action has warned that the cuts could amount to £2bn over the next four years.

NICVA's Seamus McAleavey said officials from Executive departments had indicated to him previous estimates of the cuts were too conservative.

He said government capital expenditure is likely to fall by 40%.

This would mean less money being spent on the likes of schools, hospitals and infrastructure, he said.

"That will affect almost everyone in Northern Ireland, that will work its way through the system.

"And I think we are talking about taking significant amounts of money out of public services," Mr McAleavey said.

"What needs to happen is the Northern Ireland Executive needs to set out now what they think is the scale of the problem and involve people here properly in the debate.

"It's going to happen, we need to prepare ourselves to deal with it as best as we can."

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said the Executive had been engaged in discussions with groups such as NICVA about how the cuts would affect Northern Ireland.

"I've been spending the summer speaking to people like Seamus to try and deal with the reality that's coming down the line.

"There's no point hiding away from the fact that we're going to have to deal with public sector cuts, but that doesn't mean that we have to pull back from the areas that we believe are important to us," she said.

"A lot of people are hiding under the duvet thinking the cuts aren't going to affect them, but we have always said that this is going to be a very serious issue for us."

More on this story