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 written ministerial statement sets out the departmental allocations. Those are the moneys that the permanent secretaries have asked me to deliver to them. I cannot direct the spending within those Departments. I also cannot ask them exactly which work streams or programmes they will spend the money on, because in this House we do not have the Executive power to do that. However, I am making it possible for the spending that has already happened to have the statutory footing that it needs, and I am making possible the vote on account for next year, as agreed with the permanent secretaries of each Department.

It is not a satisfactory process. I do not deny that this is not the ideal way to do it. The ideal way to do this would be to have Ministers in Stormont who are able to direct departmental spending, and to have a budget process that is done in the same way as the overall budget is done for the United Kingdom in the Treasury; but we are not in a situation where that can happen, so unfortunately, this is where we are.