N. Ireland Politics

Department cuts details revealed

Northern Ireland's health and education departments are to escape spending cuts of about £45m.

The move is in exchange for allowing a government efficiency unit to assess their departments.

The money is part of the £128m in cuts imposed by the Treasury earlier this year.

Other government departments in Northern Ireland will absorb the cuts over this financial year.

According to BBC NI political correspondent Martina Purdy, "there was good news and bad news" as Finance Minister Sammy Wilson unveiled the latest Executive decisions.

This followed a meeting on 22 July to decide what to do about the £128m in Treasury cuts and how to allocate funds that were unspent over the past quarter.

The cuts will be met by in several ways. Firstly, there is £60m in unspent money which will no longer be redistributed.

Most of the rest will be divided proportionally among departments, except for health and education.

Their ministers have, between them, avoided their £45m share.

Instead, they have done a deal with finance to allow government's Performance and Efficiency Delivery unit into their departments.

Our correspondent said that "on the plus side, there are still unspent funds to be redistributed from June, with agriculture getting £200m, education £13m and enterprise £28m".

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