Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland civil service redundancy scheme to begin on 2 March

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Media captionMr Lewis told MLAs he believed substantial numbers of civil servants would be interested in the scheme

A scheme for voluntary redundancy within Northern Ireland's civil service will be launched next Monday.

Senior finance department official Colin Lewis briefed MLAs on Wednesday about the Northern Ireland Civil Service Voluntary Exit scheme.

It was agreed during the Stormont House talks.

Mr Lewis said he believed substantial numbers of civil servants would be interested in the scheme.

He told MLAs the plan was to achieve a permanent pay bill reduction of approximately £90m from the start of the 2016/17 financial year.

Mr Lewis said there would undoubtedly be some disruption resulting from the loss of around 13% of the civil service in a little over a year and half.

He told MLAs a large number of people would be redeployed and it would be foolish to think that would not have some effect on the machinery of government.

Mr Lewis clarified to MLAs that he was talking about the voluntary exit scheme which applies to the NI civil service, but not other public sector bodies.

He said the arms length bodies in sectors such as health and education were preparing their own schemes.

The closing deadline for applications is 17:00 GMT on 27 March.

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