UK tables budget for Northern Ireland

By Alan McGuinness, Political Reporter
The UK Government has tabled a budget for Northern Ireland amid the ongoing absence of a devolved administration at Stormont.
The €12bn Westminster spending plan was unveiled in a written statement to Parliament by Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley.It includes €410m of the €1bn secured by Arlene Foster's Democratic Unionist Party as part of its confidence and supply agreement with Theresa May's Conservative government.This is the second time the British Government has imposed a budget on the region since the devolved government at Stormont collapsed in January 2017.But this occasion carries much more political significance, because the British Government is making its own policy decisions on where to allocate Northern Ireland's block grant in the upcoming financial year.
UK tables budget for Northern Ireland

DUP leader Arlene Foster described the measure as a 'necessary intervention'
When James Brokenshire - Mrs Bradley's predecessor - passed a delayed budget in November, he was simply enacting draft spending plans that had been drawn up by devolved ministers before the executive collapsed.London continues to insist it does not want to see a return to direct rule from Westminster, but some will see this latest move as a step in that direction."During the course of the past 13 months, in the absence of an Executive and Assembly in Northern Ireland, the UK Government has worked tirelessly to facilitate the restoration of devolved government," Mrs Bradley said."It had been my firm hope that a new Executive would be in place to set a budget."That will now not be possible in time for plans to be put in place for the forthcoming financial year.
UK tables budget for Northern Ireland

Deadlock in Northern Ireland, as hopes of a deal collapse
"Yet there are acute pressures across public services to be addressed in 2018/19.
"And clarity is required now to enable planning to proceed for the year ahead."Mrs Bradley said the budget was aimed at ensuring the continued delivery of public services, adding it would not be appropriate to take fundamental or transformative decisions.There are real-term increases in spending on health and education, as well as cash terms increases, below the rate of inflation, for justice, infrastructure and agriculture.Significant falls in funding are envisaged for the Department of Finance and the Executive Office, while all other departments will see their allocation kept at the same level or decreased.
UK tables budget for Northern Ireland

May: DUP & Sinn Fein must 'work together'
The budget only sets the overall allocation for each departments, with the senior civil servants in those departments deciding how to distribute the cash.The €410m relating to the DUP's confidence and supply arrangement includes €200m for key infrastructure projects, €100m for a health service transformation programme, €80m for "immediate" health and education pressures and €30m for mental health and deprivation initiatives.Responding to the budget announcement, Ms Foster said: "Having called for a budget to be passed at Westminster, we welcome the Secretary of State's necessary intervention to give departments certainty and fund public services for the next financial year.
More from Northern Ireland

May warned there must be an 'Ireland first' approach to Brexit talks

Paddy Jackson: Ireland rugby international denies rape allegation

EU could reject Northern Ireland border proposals, Republic's deputy PM suggests

Icy roads and floods still a risk as big thaw begins

EU draft Brexit agreement: Key contentious points

Defiant Theresa May rejects EU's plan for Northern Ireland border

"Departments living hand-to-mouth is no way to run public services."Our efforts will help alleviate pressures in health and education, tackle issues with mental health and deprivation, transform our NHS and build new infrastructure."
See also:
Leave a comment
  • Latest
  • Read
  • Commented
Calendar Content
«    Декабрь 2018    »