19/01/2015

Budget To Address Health And Education

Frontline services in health and education and economic growth are the key issues addressed in Northern Ireland's 2015/16 budget, according to Finance Minister Simon Hamilton.

There is to be a £204m increase in spending for the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, while the Department of Education will received £64.4m in extra funding.

The two departments will account for 65% of all resource expenditure in Northern Ireland next year.

Minister Hamilton said: "The budget deals with many of our pressures, reflects our priorities and prepares for the future. This budget, and the agreement that has been reached on welfare reform, puts the Executive’s finances back on a long-term and sustainable basis. It underpins economic growth and paves the way for allowing Northern Ireland to set its own rate of corporation tax with sizeable investments in job creation and skills development."

A further £20m is to go to the Department of Justice to "meet pressures on the PSNI".

The Department of Employment and Learning will receive a total of £33.2m in additional funding.

The Department of Enterprise Trade, and Investment (DETI) will receive £3m for Invest NI as well as £7.4million in Change Fund allocations.

£2m has been allocated to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for the Going for Growth strategy and the Department’s HQ relocation.

£2m extra will go to the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure to deal with budgetary pressures.

£5m has been announced for the Department for Regional Development for Translink town bus services and road repair programmes.

£1.9m is being put aside for the Department of the Environment for the local government de-rating grant.

£3.1m has been allocated to the Department of Social Development to reinstate reductions applied to the Social Fund and to fund the National Citizens Service.

£1.5m is being put to the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister for victims’ services, while £10m will go towards the Together: Building a United Community initiative.

The Minister said: "After a challenging year, the Executive is now clearly on course to live within its means in 2014-15. The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement provided additional funding for 2014/15 and with reclassifications and reduced requirements declared by Departments the Executive has been able to allocate resource expenditure in 2014-15 totalling £14.2m, including funding for street lighting repairs and short term support for the Ulster Orchestra, whilst capital allocations totalled £27.2m across a number of departments."

(IT/MH)

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