Ulster Unionist MLA, Rosemary Barton, has queried why £2 million has been removed from the budget of Devenish College.

Mrs. Barton put the question to the newly appointed Finance Minister Conor Murphy.

Speaking at Stormont, she said: “After a wait of 15 years, the new build for Devenish College has eventually started. However, I notice in the internal reallocations that £2 million has been removed from its budget already.

“Will the Minister please advise as to why that has happened?”

Despite not being sure of the specifics of why that was the case, Minister Murphy said towards the end of a financial year, we find that contracts may not have been awarded as quickly as they could have been.

“There may be other reasons for delays,” said Minister Murphy.

“Capital projects in particular can run into unforeseen snags.

“If a Department is not certain that it is going to spend the money for a project by the end of the financial year, it should surrender it for reallocation.

“There will be future money for such projects if they have been committed to, so the Department should surrender the money rather than hang on to it only to find that it cannot spend it, because that money will then go back to the Treasury, and that is the worst outcome.”

The finance minister told Mrs. Barton he would ask his officials to make a note of the question and respond in writing.