14/01/2004

Pearson unveils two year NI budget plans

Finance Minister, Ian Pearson has unveiled details of the Government’s plans for a significant boost to investment in public services over the next two years.

Mr Pearson revealed that total spending on services will rise by nearly 14% over the next two years, with an increase of 7.9% next year and 5.3% in 2005-06, bringing the total to over £8 billion.

Within that planned expenditure capital investment will rise by around 42% from £750m in 2003-04 to over £1 billion in 2005-06.

Commenting on the responses received to his draft proposals published in October, the Minister said: "One theme which emerged strongly from the consultation, and in my discussions with the political parties, was concerns about the size of bureaucracy in Northern Ireland and the need to deliver services more efficiently. The urgent need for further investment in Northern Ireland’s infrastructure, beyond what has already been planned, was also emphasised.

"The Budget I am announcing for the next two years therefore takes a tougher line on the costs of public sector administration, and provides more money for investment in our infrastructure than was proposed in the Draft Budget in October."

Referring to the Strategic Investment Programme launched last February, the Minister also provided updated details of the projects contained within the Programme. These now exceed £2.7 billion in value and touch upon all the key priorities for capital investment in Northern Ireland.

To help sustain this major investment programme, the Minister confirmed that there would be increases of 8.8% on the Domestic Regional Rate and 3.3% on the Non-Domestic Rate next year. Assuming that District Councils increase their domestic rates by around 6% next year, this will mean an increase of around £35 per year in the average domestic rates bill – or less than 70p a week.

(MB)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

03 May 2022
Queer Greens Launch 2022 Assembly Election Manifesto
The Green Party NI's Queer Greens group has announced the publication of its 2022 Assembly election manifesto, outlining the Party's priorities for LGBTQ+ rights in Northern Ireland.
26 April 2022
Action Against NI Protocol Elevated To Supreme Court
The DUP has welcomed the news that a joint unionist action against the NI Protocol is being elevated to the UK Supreme Court. Upper Bann candidate Diane Dodds said: "The Protocol is not supported by a single unionist party in Northern Ireland. We have a Five-Point Plan which includes removing it. But we can only do that if we win the election.
25 April 2022
DUP Urges Unionists To 'Transfer To Each Other'
The DUP have called on unionists to "transfer to each other" in order to "maximise the pro-union vote" on 05 May. The DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson made the call during an event on Saturday 23 April in Newbuildings where he reminded those gathered why unionism must stand as one in opposing the NI Protocol.
22 April 2022
Indigenous Renewable Energy System Economic Necessity
The creation of an indigenous Renewable Energy System in Northern Ireland has become an economic necessity, Dr Len O'Hagan, NI Water Chairman has said.
22 April 2022
PCR Testing Centres To Close
Northern Ireland's PCR testing centres will close at the end of operations today, Friday 22 April.