Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Don’t expect cut concessions, says Sammy Wilson

Sammy Wilson

Sammy Wilson has insisted that the Treasury had no sympathy for making any concessions to Northern Ireland over budget cuts — despite his party leader stating that the province should be a special case.

The Finance Minister will use his address at the annual conference of the Northern Ireland Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy today to stress that pain is inevitable.

Ahead of the conference in Newcastle, Co Down, he said: “The next four years, and perhaps beyond, are going to be one of the most difficult periods for planning public expenditure in living memory.

“The expenditure cuts we face are a certainty. The continuous growth in public expenditure that we have enjoyed is over — we are in a different world now.

But the minister has insisted that there was no sympathy at the Treasury for the argument that Northern Ireland should get special measures.

He added: “Wringing our hands or whinging about it won't take us anywhere — we have to get on and deal with it.

“This is what people expect of us. This is what devolution is about.”

But yesterday DUP party leader Peter Robinson stated to the Assembly committee which scrutinises his office that Northern Ireland should argue for special treatment in the face of the threatened £2 billion Treasury cuts.

He said he would be meeting the Chancellor George Osborne within days along with Martin McGuinness and might yet meet Prime Minister David Cameron to ensure unfair cuts were not made to the Assembly's budget.

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