The Stormont Executive will today debate spending cuts of £128m imposed by the new Government — but won’t be in a position to say where it can save.
Ministers are awaiting further details from the Treasury on whether they can choose between capital and day-to-day expenditure to find the savings.
And officials also want to know the future status of so-called end-year flexibility — unspent money carried over to the next budget.
Until the position clarifies, the Executive will be unable to conclude whether to defer the cuts until the next financial year, start wielding the axe more immediately or, as is more likely, a ‘middle path’ between the two.
For some time now dealing with the recession has been the first item on the on the agenda at the fortnightly Executive meetings, and the £128m — less than some had feared — is likely to feature in discussions.