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Health and Social Services

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th March 1988.

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Photo of Mr Richard Needham Mr Richard Needham , North Wiltshire 12:00 am, 24th March 1988

It would be foolish not to admit that the pressures on the law and order budget in Northern Ireland have some effect on the remaining funds available in the Northern Ireland block. That inevitably affects the amount that we can spend on health. Furthermore, the results of violence mean that services in the Northern Ireland Health Service have to be devoted to neurosurgery and aftercare for those who have been injured and therefore cannot be used for dealing with the ordinary sick. As the hon. Gentleman is aware, we spend twice as much money in Northern Ireland on the housing budget. In the circumstances I thought it right, because of the restraints on capital on the health side, to transfer £5 million to the health budget. I think that that will be welcomed by the boards. Although it will not go the whole way, it will go some way towards improving the services.