Belfast Telegraph

Executive ready to present budget

The Stormont Executive has agreed a final budget which will be presented to a special session of the Assembly today.

Ulster Unionist and SDLP ministers voted against the document.

An extra £120 million has been allocated to health over the next four years, as well as extra money to education.

Extra cash has been discovered partly because of improvements in gathering property rates, sources said.

Health minister Michael McGimpsey had been seeking an extra £200 million and warned jobs could be lost and frontline services affected by public spending cuts.

The UUP has been threatening to walk out of government and wants to see an end to mandatory coalition while the SDLP has accused Sinn Fein and the DUP of not consulting them.

DUP Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has claimed his opponents are failing to offer credible alternatives to the cuts.

Assembly elections are due in May.

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