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4,500 public sector workers to take redundancy in Northern Ireland

The number of Northern Ireland public sector employees exiting voluntarily is expected to be 4,467, officials said.

An extra small tranche of offers will be made next month to make up for a number of people who had rejected redundancy deals earlier.

It will also address tight budgets next year, according to a progress report on the Fresh Start Agreement.

Redundancies are predicted to cost £184m, but generate annual savings of approximately £160m.

The total number of Stormont departments is expected to be cut and senior management structures for the nine new Stormont departments have been agreed with senior staff provisionally assigned to posts.

Plans have been made to share personnel, accounting and IT services, an update published by the NIO said.

It said: "Some £200m has been released to enable the 2015-16 public sector voluntary exit scheme to progress.

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"Tranche four offers have been made and acceptances finalised.

"A small fifth tranche of offers will issue in February to help address rejection rates from earlier tranches and anticipated 2016-17 budget pressures.

"In terms of the overall public sector, there were two tranches of funding in 2015-16.

"Overall it is forecast 4,467 employees will exit at a cost of £184m, but generating annual savings of approximately £160m.

"The approach to public sector pay restraint is currently under consideration."

A scheme for voluntary exit from the Northern Ireland Civil Service, as well as a separate mechanism for releasing members of the wider public sector, was established following the 2014 Stormont House talks.

As part of the Fresh Start deal, extra money was provided by the British Government to combat paramilitary activity and help build a shared future

Money earmarked for bodies dealing with the past has been held until agreement is reached on dealing with legacy issues.

The Government will provide an additional £25m over five years to tackle continuing paramilitary activity.

The Government funding will only be released after the Executive has agreed a strategy to address continuing paramilitary activity.

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