Page last updated at 14:43 GMT, Tuesday, 13 October 2009 15:43 UK

64m needed to fight swine flu

Woman sneezing
Budgets are being squeezed to fund the fight against swine flu

NI government departments are to be squeezed for funds to help pay an estimated £64m to tackle swine flu.

All the departments, except for health, are to surrender a total of £39.4m to fund the fight against the virus in Northern Ireland.

Extra money for health will also come from the September monitoring round in which unspent funds are redistributed.

Last year, that round yielded about £130m for redistribution. But this year, the figure fell by £50m.

It has been agreed that the Department of Health will receive the first £20m of money earmarked by the process.

The £20m will be made up from £10m from within the Health Minister Michael McGimpsey's capital expenditure budget with the other half being made up from other Executive departments.

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson also revealed that an extra £22.3 million will be needed for the Bombardier C-Series aircraft project.

He said that the contribution was to an overall project cost of half a billion pounds, which he described as the biggest ever inward investment project in Northern Ireland.

Mr Wilson said that he would be pressing the treasury in London to help with the £39.4m swine flu shortfall.

He added that any money not subsequently used to fund the fight against the virus would be returned to individual departments.

He explained that the reason there was less money to go round was because departments were becoming more efficient in spending their budgets.

"Unlike the position under the previous Direct Rule administration, departments now spend the vast majority of the money available to them, (so) we cannot anticipate large year end underspends," he said.

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