Money earmarked for the building of the new Craigavon campus of the Southern Regional College has been ‘surrendered’ back to central funds, according to a local MLA.
Ulster Unionist MLA, Jo-Anne Dobson, called on the Employment Minister to urgently clarify the funding and timescale for the new campus.
Mrs Dobson said: “I am very concerned at news that money earmarked for the new Craigavon campus has been unspent and surrendered by the Department of Employment and Learning, in the November monitoring process.
She explained that the start date for building it has been moved to August 2017 and only £400,000 will be spent this financial year on the project.
“What is even more worrying is that the Employment and Learning Committee have been told by officials that the Department of Finance and Personnel instructed them to use £5m of money earmarked for T:BUC (Together, Building a United Community) to get this project started.
“This was instead of using some of the £22.5M of borrowing which was earmarked for the project. That was originally announced on July 4, 2013, after the G8 summit as part of the UK Government and NI Executive’s joint economic pact, ‘Building a Prosperous and United Community’.
“If £4.6m of this T:BUC money has been unspent we need to know urgently if this money now been lost to the Treasury. The Craigavon area needs and deserves a new further education facility and a new campus for the Southern Regional College would be a great boost for local schools, students, employers and the wider community.
“This smacks of financial mismanagement by the Stormont Executive.”