To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland for what reasons he has decided to limit provision for meeting the commitments of the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister funding for minority ethnic voluntary organisations to a one-year period; and what assessment he has made under section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 of the equality impact of his decision.
In its first Programme for Government the Northern Ireland Executive committed itself to
"bring forward, consult on and implement cross-departmental policies to tackle racial inequality within a strategic framework" including
"targeted support for minority ethnic groups and projects".
The funding scheme for minority ethnic voluntary organisations was established in April 2001 and work commenced on developing the strategy.
A draft Race Equality Strategy was issued for public consultation on
I propose to bring forward the final version of the Race Equality Strategy by the summer. In bringing forward the strategy, I will wish to consider very carefully the independent evaluation of the funding scheme and the views of key stakeholders.
In the circumstances, I thought it prudent to extend the existing scheme for a period of one year. Any change to the existing funding arrangements in light of the new strategy will, of course, be subject to assessment under section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.