Covid-19

Part of Ministerial Statements – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 11:15 am on 5th May 2020.

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Photo of Nichola Mallon Nichola Mallon Social Democratic and Labour Party 11:15 am, 5th May 2020

I thank the Member for his question. The Minister of Finance only raised the issue of furloughing with me towards the end of last week. It is clear that we need to take significant decisions, right across the Executive.

On the issue of re-profiling, this is not a normal budgetary process or a normal budgetary period. Where I can find easements and re-profiling, I absolutely will. The difficulty for my Department is that we have seen a dramatic reduction in revenue through Translink, the DVA and Northern Ireland Water because we have brought in measures to try to support businesses. That dramatic reduction in income sits alongside very high levels of static cost. I assure the Member that, where we can be creative in the budget, we will continue to do so. The challenge is that, in the COVID-19 budget, nothing has come across to the Department for Infrastructure as yet. If I could get some certainty around that, to ease the financial pressures, it would help me to identify where we have any flexibilities.