“I do think it would be seen as a failure of the assembly…”

The BBC reports the concerns of Northern Ireland Finance Minister, the DUP’s Sammy Wilson, about the potential need for an emergency budget if the NI Executive fails to agree a draft budget.  From the BBC report

Mr Wilson said some ministers had been co-operating with his department.

“It would be wrong to blame everybody and I hope everyone doesn’t get tarred with the one brush,” he said.

“I do think it would be seen as a failure of the assembly if we can’t agree on what is the most important function of the executive, to allocate the money that is available for the public purse.”

And UTV has video of the optimistic Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness’ response

“I think that the prospects for agreeing a budget are… er… good.”

And what did Gordon Brown tell you, Martin?

Update  And, on 16 November, UTV reports comments by the Northern Ireland First Minister, the DUP’s Peter Robinson

“We’re working away and I have every expectation that we will be able to agree a budget”, Mr Robinson said.

“I just hope all of the parties are prepared to work together to do that. But we know what our responsibilities are – people expect there to be a budget resolved and certainly there will be no lack of effort on the part of my party in ensuring that agreement is reached.”

The DUP leader says there is an incentive for Executive ministers to reach agreement.

“If it doesn’t happen in the early part of January then we’re down to a statutory process where effectively the Minister sets his own budget but that it’s set at 75% of the previous years spend. So the cuts are bad enough without having to suffer that kind of reduction.”