NI draft budget announcement is delayed

Image caption,
The budget had been expected to be presented on Tuesday 16 November

The Northern Ireland Executive is not expected to have a draft budget agreed by the start of next week as had previously been reported.

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson was reported to have been hoping to bring a budget to the assembly on Tuesday.

But some Stormont sources estimate it will be at least a fortnight before a draft can be drawn up.

The BBC's political correspondent Mark Devenport said that it was not yet clear when the budget might take place.

"They're not putting a time scale on it. Some sources say at least a fortnight before the draft budget is announced with a view to having a final budget in mid-February," he said.

David McNarry, Ulster Unionist Finance spokesman and deputy chairman of the Stormont Finance Committee, said he was not surprised by the delay.


"I predicted yesterday that the Department of Finance spin that was going on around this subject was baseless and that there was very little likelihood that a budget would be agreed before next Tuesday," he said.

"I continue to have concerns that the departmental approach being adopted by the Finance Minister is too old-fashioned and too limited to deal with the scope of the situation we are facing."

Mark Devenport said there was also the question of whether Sinn Fein was ready to accept that the £18bn promised to Northern Ireland by Gordon Brown in 2007 was not going to be delivered by the coalition government.

"Martin McGuinness travelled across to Great Britain to meet with Gordon Brown to clarify the terms of Mr Brown's promise on capital spending. It seems that at least some of the Deputy First Minister's thinking is about continuing to fight that battle rather than settling for what they've been given."

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