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New budget a rush job, says Nesbitt

By Noel McAdam

Ulster Unionist Mike Nesbitt has claimed Department of Finance officials were "asleep at the wheel" over the new budget,

"Why oh why was this year's budget rushed ?" he asked MLAs. "It took the department (DFP) 18 months to draw up a draft budget - somebody was asleep at the wheel."

In response to worsening finances ministers had to turn to London in October for a bailout - "embarrassing," he said "and against this backdrop the budget for 15/16 had to be prepared. It was all so avoidable."

Referring to arts funding amounting to 13p per head of population generating millions of pounds in return, Mr Nesbitt asked: "Do we really want to create a society that merely functions, with no appreciation of culture and the arts? That is not my vision of a new NI."

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