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

Budget Process: Openness

Oral Answers to Questions — Finance – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 17th October 2016.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Justin McNulty Justin McNulty Social Democratic and Labour Party 3:15 pm, 17th October 2016

T1. Mr McNulty asked the Minister of Finance whether he feels that the Budget process that he has outlined, with little to no scrutiny, is consistent with best practice in openness and with the 1998 legislation, and added that he was delighted to hear that the Minister was, like him, at the border last week, albeit that he did not see him, whereas he could not have been missed, given that he was the one waving the EU flag. (AQT 346/16-21)

Photo of Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Sinn Féin

I thank the Member for his question. I am usually at the back at these matters; he may have been at the front. I noticed that other politicians were at the front, including my great friend Declan Breathnach from County Louth. I commend him on that demonstration — I presume that he is referring to the one at Carrickcarnon. I thought that it was a great coming together of politicians — you do not see that often enough — not to mention all the other sectors.

I am totally confident and certain that the approach that l am taking to the Budget is absolutely compliant with all legislation. It is the best way forward. The uncertainty emanating from London meant that there was no way that we could have brought forward the intended three-year resource Budget for 2017-2020.

Photo of Justin McNulty Justin McNulty Social Democratic and Labour Party

Thank you for your answer so far. Will the Minister commit to a condensed Budget timescale and agree additional sitting days and Committee meetings in December to ensure that elective representatives can give fair scrutiny?

Photo of Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Sinn Féin

That is a fair question. The Member can be assured that whatever is needed to allow the Assembly and the Committee to have adequate and proper input will be done. I am working on a timescale that is dependent upon how many shocks and unknowns are in Mr Hammond's statement of 23 November. I do not want to overemphasise it, but there is real uncertainty about what his intentions are on a series of matters.

You can certainly receive a guarantee from me that whatever time the Assembly or the Committee needs to consider those matters will be given. I think that it will be adequate and might be a little bit more than what was received last year in what were, of course, also extraordinary circumstances.