Belfast Telegraph

Public expenditure allocations support flagship university scheme but welfare penalties begin to bite - Hamilton

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Finance and Personnel

Finance Minister Simon Hamilton MLA today unveiled the Executive’s budget allocation of some £90million to departments in the remainder of this financial year.

The Minister delivered his statement to the Assembly on the outcome of the January Monitoring round. 

Referring to the announcement of £35million of loan funding to support the University of Ulster in developing its new Belfast campus the Minister said: “I am delighted that the Executive has demonstrated its commitment to this project that will bring significant regeneration benefits to that part of Belfast. This scheme demonstrates the Executive’s ability to deliver innovative funding solutions that will benefit the local economy.”

Setting aside £15million to meet penalties imposed by the UK Government, the Minister articulated his frustration at the lack of progress on welfare reform saying: “I remain disappointed by the lack of progress on welfare reform, whilst the cost of delay this year is £15million, this will quickly escalate to some £200million and will have a damaging effect on our public services. The Welfare Reform Bill needs to be agreed as a matter of urgency.”

The Department of Health was the main beneficiary of allocations announced by the Minister receiving £30million towards a number of key health care pressures. Other allocations included £24million for the Department for Regional Development (DRD) mainly for roads maintenance, £6million for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and £2.5million for the Department for Social Development (DSD).

Commenting on the allocations the Minister said: “The allocations I have announced today will not only provide a boost to our construction sector but demonstrates the Executive’s commitment to ensuring the highest standards of care across our health care system. This is one of the real benefits of our budget reallocation process, which enables us to use easements in some departments to fund good projects in others.”

Notes to editors:

1. The in-year monitoring rounds currently take place three times in each financial year (June, October and January). This process is the vehicle for the Northern Ireland Executive to reallocate funding and address unforeseen financial pressures in year.

2. To view the Minister’s statement to the Assembly and details of the 2013-14 January monitoring (Table E) public expenditure allocations please visit the DFP website: http://www.dfpni.gov.uk/statement-on-january-monitoring-2013-14

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