Local Government Finance: Northern Ireland

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 4th May 2020.

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Photo of Simon Hoare Simon Hoare Chair, Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Chair, Northern Ireland Affairs Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to his Department’s press release of 18 April 2020 entitled Government pledges extra £1.6 billion for councils, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on the equitable allocation of that extra funding between local authorities in Northern Ireland.

Photo of Simon Clarke Simon Clarke Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government continues to work closely with local authorities in the UK to manage the impacts of Covid-19 on households and the most vulnerable in our society.

On 18 April, the UK Government announced an additional £1.6 billion for councils in England, with an extra £300 million allocated for the devolved administrations in Barnett consequentials. Of this, £50 million has been allocated to Northern Ireland.

The allocation of additional funds to Northern Ireland that arise from this announcement are unhypothecated. This means it is for the locally accountable Northern Ireland Executive to determine the most appropriate allocation, rather than the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

The functions of Northern Ireland District Councils and their funding arrangements differ to that of local councils elsewhere in the UK. Whilst English councils have responsibility for the provision of social care, education, libraries, road-building and housing, in Northern Ireland the equivalent functions are carried out by the Northern Ireland Executive.

It is for the Northern Ireland Executive to consider these differences in function in allocating the additional funding made available to Northern Ireland in this announcement.

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