Northern Ireland

Stormont department budget details to be published

Cash Image copyright Bernhard Richter

Details of a budget for Stormont departments are expected to be published on Thursday.

Some departments may be expected to make further cuts, although health and education will likely have some protection.

There is also likely to be another rise in rates - the property tax paid by households and businesses.

The local political parties were briefed on some details of the budget earlier this week.

Civil servants have been shaping the budget in the absence of Stormont ministers.

'Acute' challenges

They have found there is a gap of about £400m between what they think public services require and what the budget will allow - what is known as a spending pressure.

That pressure will likely be reduced by some reallocation of money between different budget streams.

For example, this year £100m was switched from infrastructure to day-to-day spending.

However the political parties were told that the challenges facing the budget in the coming year are "acute" and that "targeted savings" should be sought from some departments.

In this year's budget there was £80m of additional funds from the DUP confidence-and-supply deal to address pressures in health and education.

However that was a one-off part of the deal that will not be repeated in the next financial year.

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