Northern Ireland Executive agrees June monitoring allocations for education, health and housing

The Executive has agreed to allocate an additional £122 million to the Department of Health and £43.7 million to the Department of Education as part of the June monitoring round, but the SDLP have criticised the timing of the annoucement with the general election on Thursday.
Image: Northern Ireland Executive

The Northern Ireland Executive has agreed on allocations as part of the June monitoring round.

A monitoring round allows the Executive to review their spending plans and priorities throughout the financial year.

The Department of Health has received an additional £122 million, with the Department of Education getting £43.7 million for Education Authority pay, and a further £44.5 million to address pressures and for estates projects.

The Department of Communities gets an additional £42.5 million, Justice gets £35 million, and £18.5 million will go to the Department for Infrastructure.

Health Minister Mike Nesbitt has welcomed the additional funding that has been made available to his department. Image: UUP

He said, “While this makes some contribution to reducing the deficit position facing the Health and Social Care system, a significant shortfall still remains.”

“I am still not in a position to balance the Health budget without taking measures which would be regarded as having a catastrophic impact on services. I have repeatedly made clear I will not be sanctioning such measures.”

“The ongoing and significant budgetary shortfall is before a 2024/25 pay uplift can be considered. The financial position therefore remains very challenging and work continues across the HSC system to deliver the maximum possible savings and efficiency.”

Finance Minister Caoimhe Archibald told the Assembly, “While the Executive does not have the funding to do everything it might wish to do, todays allocation of over £300 million across Resource and Capital DEL, will help to alleviate some of the pressures facing departments.

“Working together we will be better placed to meet the challenges we face head on.”

Leader of the Opposition Matthew O’Toole has criticised the timing of the announcement of the June monitoring round. Image: SDLP

The SDLP MLA said, “Today’s action by the Finance Minister, along with the First Ministers, is a shocking and shameless abuse of civil service impartiality and a clear breach of the Executive’s own rules on the pre-election period.

“To announce hundreds of millions in spending allocations three days from an election, while acknowledging that the funding is at risk of not being confirmed by the Treasury, is anything but routine business as the Minister has cynically claimed.”

“Of course many of these allocations are welcome in themselves, but there would have been no issues if they had been announced on Friday morning, avoiding any suggestion of politicising the civil service.”

 “This cynical, shabby act of party politics risking undermining any shred of credibility the restored Stormont has – and offers a damning indictment of suggestions that the civil service has reformed itself to be more than a vehicle for Sinn Fein-DUP carve-ups.”

He has written to the Head of the Civil Service to seek clarity on the situation.

A press conference was held by First Minister Michelle O’Neill, Deputy First Minister Emma Little-Pengelly and Finance Minister Caoimhe Archibald at Stormont earlier today.

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