North west awaits results of talks on spending cuts

Image caption,
Foyle College's hopes of a move could be hit by the cuts

Questions have been raised about the future of major capital spending projects in the north west.

The Assembly has been recalled for a special sitting to discuss the government's Spending Review.

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson said the executive would have to save £4bn over the next four years.

The cuts could have an effect on road and rail projects, the new Foyle & Londonderry College and plans for a radiotherapy unit at Altnagelvin.

Doubts have been cast over schemes to improve the A5 road between Derry and Aughnacloy, the A6 between the city and Dungiven and the railway line to Belfast.

The financial journalist Paul Gosling said if Foyle College's plans did not proceed, it would have a knock-on effect on Ebrington Primary School's hopes for a new building and the University of Ulster's planned expansion of the Magee campus.

He said the executive would have to be brave to cut back on revenue costs.

"There are opportunities to reduce costs by basically moving away from our sectarian history.

"Unless they take brave decisions like that, what they are likely to end up doing is cutting back on social care support and teaching assistants in the classroom, which I think would be the totally the wrong things to cut," he said.