Belfast Telegraph

Welfare reform row to cost £119m by next year

By Noel McAdam

Stormont ministers could have to make spending cuts of almost £120m as the result of the stand-off over welfare reform between Sinn Fein and the DUP.

Finance Minister Simon Hamilton yesterday confirmed the Executive will have lost a total of £119m from its budget as a result of fines from the Treasury by this time next year.

The total relates to the amount the Treasury calculates would have been saved from the public purse if the national changes to the benefits system were implemented here.

In a response to his party colleague Gregory Campbell, Mr Hamilton said Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander is imposing penalties of £13m in the 2013-14 financial year, £87m this year and £114 next year.

"The 2015-16 deduction equates to £9.5m per month. As a consequence, if welfare reform has not been agreed by the end of May 2015, the Executive will have lost a total of £119m."

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