Northern Ireland departments may run out of cash, minister warns

Some finance departments in Northern Ireland may run out of money before the end of July due to the cost of combating the pandemic, Treasury Secretary Conor Murphy said.

Five Stormont divisions were affected, and one may have used up on June 19.

Mr. Murphy introduced a technical mechanism at the Belfast assembly that will allow spending to continue ahead of further legislative action next fall.

The government has used millions of pounds to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

Trade tax relief and special grants for pressurized hoteliers and tax collectors are additional costs incurred to keep the economy alive.

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<figcaption>PSNI officials patrol downtown Belfast during coronavirus blockade (Stephen Davison / PSNI / PA)</figcaption></figure>
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<p>On Tuesday, Murphy told the Northern Ireland Assembly: "After considering the options, the only viable solution is for the Assembly to approve another vote on the account.</p>
<p>"This will empower departments to continue to spend until the detailed key estimates can be discussed later in the year."</p>
<p>The Minister of Sinn Fein also saw major challenges arising from Brexit. The transition period should be completed by the end of this year.</p>
<p>Mr. Murphy said the country is facing a major recession due to the coronavirus pandemic.</p>
<p>Northern Ireland has taken its first steps from blocking Covid-19 with the reopening of garden centers, churches for private prayers and golf courses.</p>
<p>However, many companies are only allowed to reopen later in the year.</p>
<p>The executive has published a five-step recovery plan, but it does not contain any indicative data.</p>
<p>Mr Murphy told the BBC: "We are aware that businesses will inevitably suffer and jobs will be lost, but we are obviously trying to do the best we can."</p>
<p>“I think it will be very difficult (a post-pandemic recession) and we have to take the impact of Brexit into account – that has always been an economic challenge for us.</p>
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<figcaption>Closed Cornmarket Shops in Belfast City Center (Liam McBurney / PA)</figcaption></figure>
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<p>“We are aware that there are a number of very serious challenges ahead that will continue for some time. We want to try to help the company overcome these challenges.</p>
<p>“When the executive was reformed in January, it faced a politically and economically very difficult time in terms of public service support due to years of savings budgets, but all of this has increased significantly at the moment due to the situation we are facing . "</p>
<p>Mr. Murphy said he was bringing "a process" to the meeting on Tuesday to approve additional funding for some departments after four or five departments "spent more than we can cover".</p>
<p>In other areas, however, departments are spending less than expected, for example on capital projects where construction has stopped.</p>
<p>“We also asked departments to re-prioritize to let them know they are not spending so that as a manager, we can take a look and ensure that the recovery plan we intend to implement is implemented. That we are going to discuss this this week will have resources that go with it, ”he said.</p>
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