Finance Minister Arlene Foster set out the budget pressures facing the Northern Ireland Executive at a meeting with Treasury, today.
The Minister met with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Greg Hands MP in London to discuss a range of budgetary issues including the pressures faced in this financial year, 2015-16 as well as the welfare reform impasse and the impact of failing to implement the Stormont House Agreement.
Arlene Foster said: “I had a very constructive meeting with Greg Hands during which we discussed a number of budgetary issues impacting upon Northern Ireland. Obviously the failure to deliver on the welfare reform element of the Stormont House Agreement was central to those discussions.”
As the Budget Bill No (2) progresses through the Assembly, the Minister highlighted the complex problems associated with failure to pass this legislation before summer recess. There was also a discussion about the inter-relationship between honouring the Stormont House Agreement commitments and the wider budget management process.
The Minister said: “I also took the opportunity to set out to the Chief Secretary the current public expenditure position and the range of pressures confronting the Executive. Clearly there are some difficult decisions ahead.
"The Chief Secretary stressed there would be no additional funding for Northern Ireland. Furthermore that it was imperative welfare reform was delivered and that control totals were not breached."
The HM Treasury will be making a number of important policy decisions in the coming weeks and months that will have a significant impact on the budget regimes that the devolved administrations operate under. On the 8 July the Chancellor will set out his revised 2015-16 UK Budget position, followed shortly thereafter by the Spending Review settlement for years 2016-17 and beyond.
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