NICVA predicts big cuts

Fears of 50% drop in value of public contracts for Northern Ireland voluntary sector

The Northern Ireland Executive has been told it must take action to prevent large anticipated cuts in public spending being concentrated on the voluntary sector.

At its first recession summit last week, umbrella body the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action told deputy first minister Martin McGuinness that it expected big spending cuts to occur after next year's general election and the voluntary sector could be badly hit.

After the meeting, Seamus McAleavey, chief executive of Nicva, said 46 per cent of sector income in Northern Ireland came from the executive, so a 5 per cent spending cut concentrated on the sector could actually translate into a 50 per cent cut for the sector.

"We aren't going with a begging bowl," he said. "But we do want the executive to have an overview and not allow chaos to reign, with hundreds of procurement officers making one-off choices about what to cut."

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