Northern Ireland

Executive given draft programme for government

Peter Robinson
Image caption Peter Robinson said the move should see more power going to local government

Executive ministers have met on Thursday and been given a draft programme for government for their responses.

The first and acting deputy first minister said one of the issues they had agreed on was the plan to reduce the number of local councils to 11.

"That should see some more power going to local government," First Minister Peter Robinson said.

He also said the move would save money in the long-term.

"With the reduced number of councils it should provide us with economies of scale that in the long-term will be helpful," he added.

The executive has faced some criticism over its delay in agreeing a programme for government.

The plan to cut the number of local councils from 26 to 11 was first agreed in March 2008, but has not progressed since.

Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd took over as acting deputy first minister on Tuesday.

He is standing in for Martin McGuinness, who is to stand in the Irish presidential election.

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