Northern Ireland

Budget worth an additional £320m for NI, says chancellor

Philip Hammond Image copyright PA
Image caption Chancellor Philip Hammond made the announcements in his budget speech on Monday

The chancellor has said his budget will mean additional spending of £320m for Northern Ireland government departments in 2021.

Phillip Hammond said there would be "larger sums to come" as a result of a forthcoming spending review.

He also approved a city deal for the Belfast region which will mean £350m of additional funding over 15 years.

There was also a £2m one-off payment to help with the impact of the Primark fire in Belfast city centre.

Philip Hammond made the announcements in his budget speech on Monday in the House of Commons.

A fire at Primark's Bank Buildings store in August has led to 14 businesses being closed - possibly for as long as four months.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The clock at the top of Bank Buildings was one of the features destroyed by the flames

Analysis by Stormont's Department of Finance suggests that Northern Ireland will get an extra £44m for day-to-day spending this year and an additional £31m for capital spending.

In 2019/20 there will be an additional £242m for day-to-day spending, an annual increase of 2% in cash terms.

That should mean the 2019/20 Northern Ireland budget will be flat in real terms.

However, there will be pressure to match pay increases given to some public sector workers elsewhere in the UK.

The government has said it will not be making any changes to Air Passenger Duty (APD) or tourism VAT in Northern Ireland "at this time".

Budget Breakdown

What did the chancellor announce for Northern Ireland?

  • £320m in addition to the block grant
  • £350m for a Belfast City Region Deal
  • Formal negotiations for a Derry/Londonderry and Strabane City Region Deal to open
  • £300m worth of shared and integrated education projects
  • A technical group to look at changing short-haul Air Passenger Duty

City deals

Northern Ireland will be the last remaining part of the UK to get a city deal - there are already more than 30 across Britain.

First used in 2012, they are designed to give more spending and decision-making power to local authorities.

Last week, six Northern Ireland councils travelled to Westminster to lobby for a deal.

Belfast City Council has partnered with Antrim and Newtownabbey, Ards and North Down, Lisburn and Castlereagh, Mid and East Antrim, and Newry, Mourne and Down councils.

They had hoped to secure £450m of funding from Mr Hammond, with an Executive matching that figure, but the Chancellor said £350m would be made available from the Treasury.

The Executive was to pledge £400m, with the two Northern Ireland universities and six partner councils getting the remaining £150m.

Londonderry is also seeking a deal, but its negotiations commenced at a later stage.

On that basis, its proposal is not quite as advanced.

Derry City and Strabane District Council said "significant progress" had been made advancing its city deal proposals following the chancellor's visit to the city in July.

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