Bradley questions Minister of Finance on European funding

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Wednesday, December 14th, 2011
Responding to a question from SDLP MLA Dominic Bradley, the Minister of Finance Sammy Wilson has said that monies drawn down by groups which are in breach of the terms of their letters of offer will have to be paid back to Europe. Mr Bradley questioned Mr Wilson by asking; “What action has been taken to retrieve funding from groups that are in breach of the terms of their letters of offer?” Mr Wilson responded saying; “We have an obligation to pursue such groups because that money will be clawed back by Europe, and it becomes a draw on our budgets in Northern Ireland. A number of groups with which there were difficulties and which did not adhere to the rules have been highlighted. In those cases, the SEUPB and the sponsoring Departments are looking at what should and can be done to retrieve funding. In cases in which it was clear that groups breached the terms of their letters of offer, the first thing that we did was stop further funding.” Commenting on the situation Mr Bradley said; “The onus is on the the SEUPB and the sponsoring Departments to retrieve these monies, which are in excess of half a million pounds, at a time when public finances are under severe pressure. I do not get the impression that the issue is currently being addressed with a great deal of urgency and I would urge those responsible to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that the public purse does not suffer because of the actions of those who failed to adhere to the terms and conditions of grants to which they signed up and subsequently breached.”
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