Northern Ireland Budget (No. 2) Bill

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 5:59 pm on 9th July 2018.

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Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 5:59 pm, 9th July 2018

For clarification, the report I am referring to is precisely the one presented to the Prime Minister by the right hon. Gentleman and the leader of the Democratic Unionist party. We have received it and are considering it across Government, as we rightly should in that situation.

This Bill seeks to put the budget position I set out in March on a legal footing. It does not direct the NICS Departments on how to use these allocations. In the absence of an Executive, it remains for Northern Ireland Departments to implement their budget positions. How Northern Ireland Departments will allocate their budgets is set out in the detailed NI main estimates Command Paper. Passing this budget Bill does not remove the pressing need to have locally accountable political leaders in place to take the fundamental decisions that will secure a more sustainable future for the people of Northern Ireland.

I will now turn to the Bill itself. The Bill authorises Northern Ireland Departments and certain other bodies to incur expenditure of up to £8.9 billion and use resources totalling up to £9.9 billion for the financial year ending on 31 March 2019. While this is a technical budget Bill, I do not dismiss the constitutional significance of Parliament having to deliver this for Northern Ireland. I therefore draw Members’ attention to two important issues that do not form a part of the Bill expressly, but will be of interest to Parliament as we debate the Bill. First, as I highlighted in my March statement, this budget includes a further £410 million of UK Government funding that flows from the confidence and supply agreement. That is in addition to the £20 million already released in 2017-18 to help to address immediate pressures in health and education.