Issue of sum out of the Consolidated Fund for the year ending 31 March 2020 and appropriation of that sum

Part of Northern Ireland Budget Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:50 pm on 30th October 2019.

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Photo of Nick Hurd Nick Hurd The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office 5:50 pm, 30th October 2019

I thank the shadow Secretary of State for his question. He asked about that on Second Reading, and I apologise for not having the time to respond directly. On his broader question, I can confirm that this budget is putting on a sound legal basis the draft budget debated earlier for this financial year. The short answer to his question is that it does not include provisions for the implementation of the Stormont House agreement institutions, and it does not include consideration of the consequences of implementing the Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Bill. I wholly agree, as I know the Secretary of State would, that that Bill must be a priority for Governments of any colour. The hon. Gentleman asked for some creativity or flexibility in terms of a down payment. I am not authorised to put something definitive on the record, but I know that the Secretary of State and the team have heard that and will look to discuss it with the Northern Ireland civil service. I do not have a black and white answer to that question, but it is certainly noted.

I want to acknowledge the point made about the Police Service of Northern Ireland. The right hon. Member for Lagan Valley is right: the PSNI is a success story, and we cannot afford for it to go backwards. As a former Minister for police in England and Wales and a former Minister for the fire service, I found myself largely in agreement with the sentiments he expressed about the need to ensure that the police service has the resources it needs and about the challenges of the recruitment process in the modern age.