Belfast Telegraph

£100m of community funds remain unspent

By Noel McAdam

Funds totalling £100m aimed at helping interface communities and the disadvantaged remain unspent — half-way through the financial year.

No cash from the twin Social Investment Fund and Social Protection Fund have as yet been allocated, First Minister Peter Robinson and acting Deputy First Minister John O’Dowd confirmed.

MLA Jim Allister, who obtained the information in an Assembly answer, warned that the fact the cash is yet unspent demonstrated political paralysis at Stormont.

“The logjam at the heart of Government has not only left us with no Government business in the Assembly and no proposed legislation, but now it emerges even funds put in place are not being spent,” the TUV leader said.

In their responses, Mr Robinson and Mr O’Dowd said of the Social Protection Fund: “To date, no monies have been released from the fund. Our officials are working with other departments to assess funding options and potential initiatives.”

And on the Social Investment Fund they added: “The policy is currently being developed and is at an advanced stage.”

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