“Today’s meeting was a useful opportunity to engage with the Civil Service. The budgetary challenges facing Northern Ireland are not new and many arise from the failure of Sinn Fein to bring forward a draft budget during the lifetime of the last Assembly that could secure cross-party support.
This led to an overspend across Departments which has placed significant additional pressures on this year’s budget as Treasury seek to recoup that amount. The Government could offer significant assistance by allowing that overspend to be repaid over a longer period. That would help take some of the pressure off vital public services.
We want to see devolution restored on a solid foundation that provide for stable government. The budget pressures we face will not be altered by the return of devolution and there is a need for central Government to recognise the need for mitigations to assist.
We remain ready to work with other parties to present this case to the Secretary of State.”