Murphy meets businesses and community groups on Spending Review

Date published: 02 November 2021

Finance Minister, Conor Murphy today set out the task facing the Executive following the Spending Review outcome to over 200 delegates at events in Derry and Belfast.

The Minister began the day in North West speaking at an event for local businesses hosted by Londonderry Chamber of Commerce before addressing representatives from the community and voluntary sector at NICVA.

Setting out the context to the budget Minister Murphy said: “The Spending Review did not increase the Executive’s spending power by £1.6bn as indicated by the Treasury. Compared to this year’s budget it will see an increase in day to day spending of £450m next year, £670m the year after and £866m in year three. While any increase in cash is welcome, once inflation is taken into account this represents a flat budget over the period. Therefore meeting the significant pressures on public services will be challenging.

 “Our health service is under immense pressure with waiting lists at an unprecedented level. Businesses are facing skill shortages and increased costs. While families are facing a cost of living crisis with rising food and energy costs, the increase in National Insurance and the disgraceful cut by Westminster to Universal Credit.”

Outlining the Executive’s priorities for the multi-year budget which will cover the period 2022-2025, Minister Murphy added: “The Executive has agreed to prioritise health. There is also consensus that additional resources should be diverted to support economic development  including skills, the transition to net zero and tackling inequality. Departments have been asked to submit proposals against these priorities. It will be challenging to deliver on all of these given the limited funding available to us. The task for the Executive now is to make the best possible use of the resources available.”

Minister Murphy concluded: “Over the next few weeks I will be meeting with Executive colleagues, the business sector and community groups to discuss how our budget should be distributed between different Departments and different priorities.

 “Despite the significant pressures facing us, I am determined to work collectively with Ministerial colleagues to produce a multi-year budget that delivers for citizens and businesses here. I look forward to continuing engagement in the time ahead as we work towards a draft budget.”

The intention is to have a draft budget agreed before Christmas. There will then be a period of consultation before the budget is finalised by the end of March next year.

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