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Culture of government underspending must end

8 January, 2008

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Mitchel McLaughlin MLA, who is the Chairperson of the Assembly Finance and Personnel Committee, has criticised the under spending by the government departments.

His comments came after the Assembly Finance and Personnel Committee published a report identifying millions of pounds that was not spent each year.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"One of the major issues arising from the committee'' investigations is the unacceptable level of underspend by departments.

"There is a culture of underspend across all of the government departments. Yet the money that has not been spent could and should be used to address a range of needs rather than being left to accumulate.

"Over the last three financial years, the annual amount of underspend in resource budgets has been between £113m and £155m. In the same period, between £97m and £227m of capital budgets has remained unused each year.

"This is a huge resource that should be used to fight poverty, to invest in health and education and to provide social housing." ENDS

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