Belfast Pride: DSD Grant

Oral Answers to Questions — Social Development – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 27th April 2015.

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Photo of Jim Allister Jim Allister Traditional Unionist Voice 3:15 pm, 27th April 2015

T4. Mr Allister asked the Minister for Social Development whether his Department plans, again this year, to provide a grant to Belfast Pride. (AQT 2414/11-15)

Photo of Mervyn Storey Mervyn Storey DUP

I approved the continuation of the Belfast city centre community activity grant for the financial year 2015-16. My Department has allocated a budget of £220,000 from the Belfast city centre events and community activity grants for the financial year 2015-16. That represents a reduction of some £80,000 in the amount that has been available in recent years.

The grant schemes were previously known as the "Laganside events grant" and the "Laganside community activity grant". However, in April 2013, the applicable boundary was extended to take in the city centre, and, as a result, the grant schemes were renamed the "Belfast city centre events grant" and the "Belfast city centre community activity grant".

A call for applications for the Belfast city centre event grant scheme was made on 9 April 2015, with a closing date of 23 April of this year. The Department received 34 applications, and the applications will be assessed over the coming weeks, with the decision on funding being issued in due course. Included in those applications, as it has been in previous years, is Orangefest.

Photo of Jim Allister Jim Allister Traditional Unionist Voice

Is Belfast Pride included in those applications, and does the Minister anticipate again giving funding? Does he think that it is a prudent use of £250,000 in these times of austerity to sustain events such as this?

Photo of Mervyn Storey Mervyn Storey DUP

I have not had personal sight of the applications, and that process will be carried by the Belfast city centre events grant scheme. It is the administrator for the scheme, and it is up to it to decide in relation to the process that will be used and the allocations that will be made.

Photo of John Dallat John Dallat Social Democratic and Labour Party

Mrs Karen McKevitt is not in her place. Question 6, remember, was withdrawn.