Full hearing on A5 by mid-Feb

FINANCE Minister Sammy Wilson says he expects a full hearing of the legal case against the Londonderry to Aughnacloy A5 road scheme in mid-February.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has already agreed for the Executive to borrow up to £50 million less this financial year against an equal increase in borrowing in 2014-15 when funding for the A5 Londonderry to Aughnacloy road is likely to be needed.

Speaking to the Assembly Mr Wilson said he understands a full hearing is scheduled for mid-February 2013.

He added: “If it is resolved quickly, there is still a possibility of spending about £20 million on the A5 road scheme in this financial year.

“However, it is clear that there is already a £30 million easement. Recently, I secured from the Chief Secretary up to £50 million of Reinvestment and Reform Initiative (RRI) borrowing flexibility to manage that issue.

“The £30 million easement in Department of Regional Development (DRD) was, therefore, handled as a technical adjustment to the DRD budget, with a corresponding reduction in RRI borrowing in this financial year.”

He said that this provided the Executive with an additional £30 million RRI borrowing power in 2014-15.

“My officials will continue to liaise with their DRD colleagues on that issue,” he said.

“Should it be necessary to make a further adjustment to the DRD capital budget, it can be applied before the end of the year, with a corresponding reduction in RRI borrowing. I will update the Assembly on that issue at the provisional out-turn stage,” he explained.