Finance Minister, Conor Murphy has today written to his ministerial colleagues urging action to prevent a breach of the Block Grant.
Departments’ forecasts of their Resource expenditure for the financial year show a collective overspend of some £960 million. Against this there is £300 million of funding available for allocation. Should the current trajectory continue the Block Grant would be breached which under the Statement of Funding policy would mean any over spend could be taken from next year’s Budget which is already under huge strain.
Commenting on the budgetary position, Minister Murphy said: “With no budget to help Departments plan, the Westminster Government’s mini-budget not providing additional money for public services, and inflationary pressures, our finances are now in a critical position.
“While I appreciate it is hugely challenging for Departments to operate in the absence of a Budget as Ministers we have a collective responsibility to ensure that we live within the Block Grant. I have written to Ministers reminding them of the importance of ensuring spending remains within the overall budget provided to us. This is crucial, as any overspend may be taken from next year’s Budget – making an already difficult financial position much worse.”
Minister Murphy continued: “Our citizens, businesses and public services need certainty. Restoration of the Executive will enable us to work together to agree a multi-year Budget. It would also allow us to decide on the prioritisation and allocation of funding including support for households and businesses as well as a pay award for public sector staff.”
As well as writing to his ministerial colleagues the Finance Minister has also provided a Written Ministerial Statement to the Assembly, this can be viewed at https://www.finance-ni.gov.uk/publications/written-ministerial-statement-2022-23-budgetary-position.
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