Northern Ireland Budget (Anticipation and Adjustments) (No. 2) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:50 pm on 5th March 2019.

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Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 3:50 pm, 5th March 2019

The hon. Lady makes a number of important points, the first being that we have rightly increased spending for the Department of Education. This is an area in which there is a clear need for increased spending, and the permanent secretary at the Department was keen to ensure that the Government were aware of that. That is why, in the allocations for 2019-20 that were set out in the written statement last week, there is an increase in spending power for the Department of Education. The hon. Lady also makes a point about how that spending happens. The difficulty in the absence of Ministers in Stormont is that spending cannot be directed from this House. She also refers to issues within education in Northern Ireland. There is an undoubted need for reform of the system to ensure that money is spent appropriately and gets to the frontline and to the children and students who need it most, but we need Ministers to do that, which is why Stormont must be restored as soon as possible.