Finance Minister Conor Murphy warns of £660 million Stormont overspend if action not taken
Finance Minister Conor Murphy has written to ministers warning Stormont faces an overspend of £660 million unless action is taken.
The Sinn Fein politician warned Stormont finances are now in a “critical position” – but denied there had been a breakdown in financial controls.
He blamed the impact of inflation and the lack of a functioning Executive, which hasn’t been operating since February when the DUP withdrew in protest over the Northern Ireland protocol.
Any overspend in finances would likely be deducted from next year’s block grant, which is paid by the UK Treasury to fund public services.
Forecasts of departments’ expenditure for the financial year show a collective overspend of £960 million of which there is £300 million of allocated funding available.
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In a written statement to assembly members, Mr Murphy said: “While I appreciate it is hugely challenging for Departments to operate in the absence of a Budget, as Ministers we have a collective responsibility to ensure that we live within the Block Grant. I have written to Ministers reminding them of the importance of ensuring spending remains within the overall budget provided to us.
“Our citizens, businesses and public services need certainty. Restoration of the Executive will enable us to work together to agree a multi-year Budget.