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7 July 2009



The Northern Ireland Assembly’s Finance and Personnel Committee has welcomed the Executive’s spending figures for 2008/09 which were released today at a special sitting of the Assembly.

Commenting on the figures, Finance and Personnel Committee Chairperson, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA said: “The current economic uncertainty places an even greater onus on departments to manage public money in a way that achieves the highest possible spend within authorised limits and maximises the impact from available resources.

“I welcome the reduction in departmental underspend from £177m or 2.1% in current expenditure in 2007-08 to £44m or 0.5% in 2008-09. My Committee has been pressing for departmental year-end underspend to be minimised.

“Unspent money represents a missed opportunity to maximise the delivery of key public service priorities. This is of particular importance given the fact that the Treasury is restricting the Executive’s access to these reserves.”

The Committee met today during the Assembly’s Summer Recess to quiz senior DFP officials on the detail behind the Finance Minister’s statement to the Assembly on both departmental spend in the first quarter of 2009-10 and the estimated position for 2008/09.

The Committee intends to examine the extent to which the 2008/09 result is due to improved financial management across departments and also look at the departmental performance in delivering Programme for Government targets.

Following summer recess, the Committee will also study DFP reviews of the quarterly monitoring round process and of the process for scrutinising the Executive’s Budgets in the future.


Notes for Editors

1. The Committee for Finance and Personnel is one of 11 Statutory Committees of the Northern Ireland Assembly, which are set up to advise and assist each Northern Ireland Minister in the formulation of policy with respect to matters within his/her responsibilities as a Minister. Statutory Committees have powers as described in Strand One of the Belfast Agreement i.e. a scrutiny, policy development and consultation role with respect to the department with which each is associated, together with a role in the initiation of legislation.

2. As per paragraph 9 of Strand One of the Belfast Agreement, Statutory Committees have the power to:

3. Committee Members:
Mitchel McLaughlin (Chairperson) (Sinn Fein)
Simon Hamilton (Deputy Chairperson) (DUP)
Dr Stephen Farry (Alliance)
Fra McCann (Sinn Fein)
Jennifer McCann (Sinn Fein)
David McNarry (UUP)
Adrian McQuillan (DUP)
Declan O’Loan (SDLP)
Ian Paisley Jnr (DUP)
Dawn Purvis (PUP)
Peter Weir (DUP)

Further information on the work of the Committee is available on the Committee pages of the Northern Ireland Assembly website:

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Debra Savage, Communications Officer
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