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Public sector Voluntary Exit Schemes to go ahead

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Finance Minister Arlene Foster today announced the public sector Voluntary Exit Schemes would go ahead as planned.

At the weekend the Secretary of State Theresa Villiers confirmed the UK government would release the funding to enable the schemes to proceed.

Arlene Foster said: “I welcome the Secretary of State’s announcement to release the funds needed to progress the public sector voluntary exit schemes this year.”

“Confirmation of the funding will give certainty to those staff in the public sector who had to put their future plans on hold while waiting for the green light on the scheme.”

As part of the Stormont House Agreement (SHA), the Executive agreed a comprehensive programme of Public Sector Restructuring and Reform which included the flexibility to use £700m of capital borrowing to fund Voluntary Exit Schemes across the public sector over the next four years.

Specifically in relation to the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) Voluntary Exit Scheme, conditional offers were made to 2395 applicants in tranches one and two of the four-tranche scheme. At the acceptance closing date of tranche two on 28 August 1630 civil servants had accepted the conditional offer.

The Minister added: “The first two tranches of the NICS Voluntary Exit Scheme in themselves will generate paybill savings of approximately £20 million this year and approximately £48 million per annum thereafter. Now that funding is confirmed the NICS Scheme will progress as planned, with the first tranche of 864 staff leaving at the end of September. Tranche two staff will leave at the end of November.

“I want to end any further uncertainly around the release of staff under the NICS Voluntary Exit Scheme and confirm that, in addition to those staff leaving in September and November, further selections will be made over the coming months to allow more exits at the end of January and March 2016.

“The Northern Ireland Executive’s budget 2015/16 only works if the funding plans in the Stormont House Agreement go ahead. The pay bill savings from the NICS Voluntary Exit Scheme in 2015/16 will equate to approximately £26 million this year and around £88 million per year thereafter.”

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