Sammy Wilson plans tight budget timescale
A new Stormont budget for next year will have a necessarily tight timescale, Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has stressed.
Mr Wilson told MLAs that the Executive would “ideally” publish a draft budget “as soon as possible” after the UK Government's spending review is issued on October 20.
This long-awaited spending review — to be announced by Chancellor George Osborne — will reveal the scale of spending cutbacks facing Assembly departments.
Mr Wilson said the planned draft Stormont budget could then be examined by Assembly committees and subsequently debated in the chamber early in the new year.
“That is the timetable that I would like to follow,” he said.
“It is important that we meet that timetable, because doing so would allow allocations to be decided for all of the various bodies, trusts, boards, voluntary groups, etc.
“As I have pointed out time and again, we can, perhaps, live with a slack budget process when there is plenty of money available, but we cannot afford to have a budget process that maintains uncertainty among people until the beginning of the financial year, when there are likely to be fairly large cuts in their budgets.”