Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.Donate to our crowdfunder
It seems that I must keep reminding Members of the increase in capital investment and expenditure here last year. Capital investment, which assists the construction industry and which will provide a modern infrastructure for Northern Ireland, was increased by 30% last year compared with the year before. That is a very significant increase by anyone’s standards, and the Executive have also introduced specific measures to assist businesses and those in jobs in very difficult times. Those measures include capping manufacturing rates, freezing business rates and introducing a small business rate.
If we deal with the wider issue of expenditure coming into Northern Ireland through the block grant, the £118-odd million as a result of the Barnett consequentials, it must be remembered that a significant increase has been built into departmental spending plans in 2009-2010 compared with 2008-09. For example, the Department of Education has seen its resource allocation increased this year by 5·8% and its capital allocation by 18%. The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment has increased its resource allocation by 4·5%, and the Department for Regional Development, which deals with much of the infrastructural investment, increased its resource allocation by 7·5%. Therefore, significant increases in the spending of various Departments in Northern Ireland have been created through the Budget process, regardless of any money that is gained through the Barnett consequentials.