Belfast Telegraph

Budget delay 'limiting cut options'

Delays to a budget for Northern Ireland's public services are making it more difficult to achieve savings, Sammy Wilson has said.

He warned that Government departments would find themselves under increased pressure the longer the uncertainty goes on and said he may even have to introduce an emergency budget if no agreement is reached.

Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein are divided over whether to implement cuts but both sides have argued that London should be providing more money. Sinn Fein argues the cuts should be resisted and other methods explored.

The DUP Finance Minister said there were severe consequences to further delay.

"The consequences are that the longer we delay this the more difficult it will be for departments to plan their spending for next year and the later it will be before they can implement any savings," he said.

"It puts immense pressure on the budgets at the end of this year."

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has accused the Conservative-led coalition of not meeting pledges on Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland will be the last devolved administration to agree a draft budget following the Spending Review.

Scotland and Wales are due to announce their draft budgets on Wednesday.

Last Friday Sinn Fein Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy said no budget would be agreed within the next two weeks.

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