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

I said that the hon. Gentleman was persistent. The decision to allocate spending from the capital budget to the revenue budget was taken to make sure that the budget balanced. It was taken after consultation with all the main parties in Northern Ireland, which all understood that that decision was taken to ensure that the budget balanced and that additional revenue raising from the people of Northern Ireland was not required.

Let me turn to the second important issue to which I would like to draw the attention of the House. As well as placing all Northern Ireland Audit Office audits and value for money reports and the associated departmental responses in the Libraries of both Houses—to be accessible and visible to all interested Members and Committees—I will also write to the main Northern Ireland political parties to highlight the publication of the reports and encourage them to engage with the findings. This is as robust a process as is possible, but the best form of overall accountability and scrutiny of Northern Ireland public finances would of course be that undertaken by a fully functioning Executive and a sitting Assembly in Northern Ireland.