Green New Deal

Oral Answers to Questions — Finance – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 15th March 2021.

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Photo of John Blair John Blair Alliance 3:15 pm, 15th March 2021

T1. Mr Blair asked the Minister of Finance whether he will lead on a green new deal strategy for Northern Ireland, given that there is no doubt that the pressing issues of the climate emergency and environmental protection require interdepartmental strategy actions and budgeting. (AQT 1111/17-22)

Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin

I certainly hope so. The Member knows that we face a challenging Budget next year, which means that the possibility of new initiatives has been absolutely frustrated, because Departments have been able to carry over only the same amount of spend as they had in the previous year. To meet all their pressures and requirements will be a challenge.

I hope that we get to that stage and that Departments collaborate. When we move to a multi-annual Budget, aligned with the Programme for Government, we can plot ahead and get into that type of territory. A lot of things can be done in the Departments' current spend, with the level of collaboration that they should be trying to achieve with one another, to improve environmental outcomes. I certainly hope that we get a green new deal strategy as quickly as possible.

Photo of John Blair John Blair Alliance

I thank the Minister for his answer. Is there merit in requiring all Departments to review their baseline budgets and spending priorities with a focus on the climate emergency?

Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin

That is a matter for the Executive. I assume that the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs would, perhaps, bring a proposition to the Executive asking all Departments to do that, but it is a matter for the Executive to decide.