SECRETARY of State Theresa Villiers is holding what is being described as a “stock-taking” meeting this afternoon with Stormont Executive parties over the welfare reform bust-up.
She wants to see where the parties currently stand on reaching an agreement.
However, Ms Villiers has already warned that there is no new money for NI’s welfare bill.
The wheels fell off the welfare reform bill last Monday when Sinn Fein accused the DUP of acting in “bad faith” over the legislation, a claim hotly refuted by DUP leader Peter Robinson.
Then last weekend Sinn Fein chief Martin McGuinness offered a glimmer of light in the logjam when he said he hoped their could be a deal in the middle of this week.
And Peter Robinson was also upbeat, saying the bill could be tabled for fresh debate in the Assembly next week before the Easter recess.
But it is not year clear whether a deal can still be made as neither Sinn Fein or the DUP have given any new documents to the SDLP, UUP and Alliance ministers who sit on the Executive.
If no deal is reached, the parties have already been put on foot of notice by Chancellor George Osborne that plans to devolve corporation tax powers to the Executive will be put on hold.