Finances To Be Challenging At Assembly

Stormont Finance Minister Peter Robinson has warned that the chancellor's Pre-Budget report demonstrates slowing public finances and that difficult decisions will have to be made at the Assembly to meet substantial challenges in Ulster's public services.

He said that it had been clear for some time that the growth in public spending at the UK level under the 2007 CSR would be less than previously.

This means the Executive will need to make "difficult and challenging decisions" to ensure best use of available resources.

In the 2007 Pre-Budget Report and Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) announced on Tuesday, finance for the Northern Ireland Executive is set to grow by an average annual rate of 1.7% in real terms over the next three years.

Spending in 2007-08 will be increased by £0.4 billion in 2008-09, £0.7 billion in 2009-10 and £1.2 billion in 2010-2011, a total increase of £2.3 billion over the three years.

But speaking on behalf of the Northern Ireland Executive, Mr Robinson said the growth in public spending would be less than before.

He said: "The announcement is extremely important for the people of Northern Ireland as the additional resources from the UK-wide Comprehensive Spending Review will form a major part of the available funding over the period 2008-09 to 2010-11 for allocation to departments as part of the local budget process."

He said key challenges include the substantial increase in the costs of providing water and sewerage services as well as the need to address the historic underinvestment in infrastructure.

The minister said he would now move to finalise the local draft budget process and related that he had already held "an open and fruitful discussion" with his ministerial colleagues about the expected public expenditure.

He said he would aim to bring out a draft Northern Ireland budget for public consultation in November and December.


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

02 December 2021
Array Collective Wins 2021 Turner Prize
Array Collective, a group of Belfast-based artists, have been announced the winners of the Turner Prize 2021. The group, which comprises of 11 artists, have become the first Northern Irish winners to scoop the prestigious award.
14 March 2014
Finance Minister Warns On Future Public Spending
Finance Minister Simon Hamilton has said the next number of years in Northern Ireland will "eclipse even the last four years of austerity.
20 December 2021
Another £75m Allocated To Northern Ireland
The UK government has awarded Northern Ireland another £75 million to help tackle the increase in Covid-19 cases. The funding is in addition to the £75m allocated to NI last week. Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced funding after holding talks with the devolved governments – Scotland received a £440m and Wales received £270m in total.
05 July 2010
Appeal For All-Ireland Economic Solution
As today's North-South summit got underway in Dublin, the Stormont Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has appealed for the NI Executive to act collectively "to meet the challenges being posed by the current economic situation".
14 January 2022
Minister Calls For Input On Proposed All-Ireland Rail Network
The Infrastructure Minister has urged to public to "have their say" on the future of Northern Ireland's rail network, as a consultation on an All-Island Strategic Rail Review is due to closes next week.