UK government tables budget for Northern Ireland as Westminster tightens grip on power
Extreme cuts are expected to public services after the North entered a "technical recession" during 2022.
The UK government will set out Northern Ireland's budget for the upcoming fiscal year later on today, as a result of the Stormont Assembly's near-year-long power-sharing impasse.
Despite an election occurring in May of last year, in which Sinn Féin claimed a historic victory, there has been no sitting government in the North due to the DUP's protestations over the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris will deliver the budget to the British Parliament, which is set to include a raft of extreme cuts to public services.
Enduring a challenging year on the economic front during 2022, the North entered what was described as a "technical recession", along with its economic productivity falling to 40% below the Republic's over the same time period.
Mr. Heaton-Harris will take control of the budgetary proceedings in the absence of a sitting parliament in the North, as Westminster takes on an increased role in the running of the Northern Irish state.
Upon the failure of elected officials to take office last May, Stormont was staring down the barrel of a £600 million deficit, and in an attempt to bridge that financial gap, the UK government provided an advanced down payment of £300 million.
With that additional payment from Westminster, the North faces a budgetary deficit which could potentially reach £1 billion, making the economic forecast all the more bleak for government departments bracing themselves for a wave of cuts.
The Northern Ireland Secretary will also meet with the leaders of the main political parties in the North later today to discuss the budgetary picture.
Conor Murphy, a Sinn Féin MLA, has described the expected cuts as "devastating, immoral and indefensible".
Meanwhile, party Vice-President Michelle O'Neill has called on Westminster to divert more funds towards Northern Ireland.
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