02/11/2021

Health, Education And Infrastructure All Benefit From Resource Funding

Northern Ireland's health service is set to benefit from almost 90% of the Resource funding available, £200 million, to meet Covid pressures, tackle waiting lists and fund a pay award for workers.

The October monitoring round allocations agreed by the Executive will also see funding provided for Special Educational Needs, roads maintenance, and support for first-time taxi drivers.

Outlining the allocations which were shared with all MLA's via written statement, Finance Minister Conor Murphy, said: "In my view Health should be our top priority. I am therefore glad to announce an additional £200 million for the health service. £80 million will go towards addressing Covid-19 pressures on hospitals. £70m will be used to fund the health staff pay awards requested by the Department for Health. £30 million will be allocated to tackle waiting lists, and £15 million will support health trusts with £5 million allocated to expand the Mental Health Support Fund."

Minister Murphy continued: "£20.7 million is being allocated to the Department of Education including funding to support Special Educational Needs.

"To assist the taxi sector, £500,000 is being provided for a scheme to encourage new drivers to join the industry. As we go into the winter months, the £4 million bid for roads maintenance and winter services such as gritting has been met in full."

Minister Murphy told MLAs that demand far outstripped available funding with a total of £223 million of resource funding available for allocation with bids from Departments totalling £516 million.
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Minister Murphy added: "There are many competing demands on public spending and with bids totalling more than double the funding available it isn't possible to fund everything.

"We recognise the hardship facing families especially in the face of spiralling energy costs. It is disgraceful that Westminster has removed the vital Universal Credit uplift at a time when households are facing unprecedented price increases.

"After the £200 million was allocated to Health there was only £23 million of Resource funding available. This was not enough to meet the Universal Credit bid. In order to adequately fund Health and Universal Credit I set out the pro rata reductions needed from Departments other than Health to fund the Universal Credit uplift not just for this financial year, but also future years. This option was not accepted. The Executive have agreed to have a dedicated discussion on wider anti-poverty initiatives to help the most vulnerable in society."

Other allocations include:

• Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs - £8.6 million – Covid-19 schemes and Rural Business Community Fund;

• Department of Health - £6.7 million – Covid-19 Health Support Services & Health and Social Care Trusts capital costs;

• The Executive Office - £4.2 million – Social Investment Fund & Financial Transaction Capital Interest Pressure;

• Department of Finance - £3 million – Localised Restrictions Support Scheme;

• Department of Justice - £2 million – Safer Communities Programme (including the Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking programme) and Legal Aid Costs;

• Department for Infrastructure - £1.5 million – NI Water; and

• NI Assembly - £0.2 million – Members costs

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