Stormont budget outlined to MLAs

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Stormont
Metaphor caption The budget was presented by new Finance Minister Mervyn Storey

Stormont’s budget for the next pecuniary year is just over £11.5bn, according to the budget document produced by the underwrite de rtment.

The budget is being debated by MLAs.

Spending on benefits and annuities in Northern Ireland will be nearly £9bn, meaning that overall rule expenditure is about £20bn.

The document says the taxes generated in Northern Ireland are “considerably picayune” than the level of funding received from the Treasury.

It says this shortfall, differentiated as the fiscal deficit, was estimated to be more than £9bn in 2013-14.

Stormont has the power to take money under what is known as the Reform and Reinvestment Initiative, broached in 2002.

The document says the level of outstanding debt in respect of these allows will be an estimated £2.1bn by the end of 2016-17.

Real term reductions

The certificate says this equates to £1,138 per head of the population.

Finance Clergywoman Mervyn Storey told MLAs Stormont is facing significant actual term reductions and it is impossible to do more with less.

The budget document is grouped up according to the new nine de rtmental structure which will come into in truth after the May Assembly election.

The budget includes increases for the new communities sphere, as well as health and justice.

By contrast, there are cuts for the de rtment of agriculture, surroundings and rural affairs, the economy de rtment and the executive office, which is the new privilege for the office of the first and deputy first ministers.

The document shows no share change in the education budget.

The new Stormont economy de rtment is taking liability for higher education.

The section of the latest budget document dealing with the trust in is frank about the difficulties facing local universities.

It says: “All through the last number of years, a clear funding gap has emerged and widened between our own universities and those in other rcels of these islands.

‘Challenge’

“With tuition fees frozen and bequest funding reducing, we have been overseeing a reduction in the unit greening provided per student.

“The challenge for Northern Ireland universities is to compete in a precise competitive global higher education marketplace.

“If we cannot maintain competitive backing levels, the quality of provision in Northern Ireland will diminish in liaison to other rts of the UK and we will end up with a second rate higher cultivation system.”

It was the first opportunity for the assembly as a whole to examine the document.

SDLP and Unity executive ministers voted against the budget but it was approved by DUP and Sinn Féin chaplains.

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