Belfast Telegraph

Spend It Like Stormont - how would you manage Northern Ireland's money?

The show is presented by William Crawley and Tara Mills and features economist Neil Gibson
The show is presented by William Crawley and Tara Mills and features economist Neil Gibson

A new BBC game has been created that gives players the opportunity to spend the Northern Ireland budget.

Spend It Like Stormont has been made to complement a new BBC NI documentary of the same name that breaks down the cost of the region's public services and examines why departments are under so much pressure.

It looks at sectors such as Health, Education and Justice and explains how and where the money is spent.

The online game, which you can play here, asks players to make decisions on MLA's pay, corporation tax, teacher's salaries and tuition fees, before informing them of the consequences of these decisions.

Presented by William Crawley and Tara Mills, the documentary will also feature discussions with those in charge in the absence of the Assembly.

Neil Gibson, one of Northern Ireland's leading economists, will provide the economic context behind government spending.

Each year, Stormont has £14,000 to spend per head in Northern Ireland, funding everything from the health service to roads. But how exactly are the books balanced?

The game will allow users to decide what's worth forking out public money on and where to make cuts.

William Crawley said: “I’ve been across Northern Ireland, in our hospitals and schools to hear about the impact that increasing demand is having on our public services.

"It’s clear we as a society have many decisions to make about the best way to spend our money but it’s far from straightforward – while we would all like more money to spend, there’s only a limited amount to go around.”

Tara Mills said the documentary aims to dispel the myths about how much money is raised in Northern Ireland and how much comes from Westminster.

“We bring together different groups of people to pretend to be Finance Minister for the day. It’s fascinating to see where they would like to see money spent – and who would lose out," she said.

Spend It Like Stormont will air on BBC One Northern Ireland at 9pm on Wednesday.

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