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Draft NI Executive Budget 2021/22 published

The Finance Minister, Conor Murphy MLA, has published the NI Executive’s Draft Budget for 2021/22.

His statement is available here

While the full document is available here

This is now open for consultation until 25th February. Thereafter, legislation will be laid in the Assembly in early/mid-March to give effect to the Budget before the start of the new financial year.

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Key points

  • One year Budget – was expected to be a multi-year Budget but UK Government only published a one-year Comprehensive Spending Review last November
  • Likely that the UK Government will take forward a new CSR in the autumn. This may give multi-year Budget figures but will depend on economic situation later in year
  • Also worth remembering that a NI Assembly election is scheduled for spring 2022. Thus an outgoing Executive may not set a multi-year Budget this time next year even if the figures were available to them
  • UK Budget Statement is due on 3rd March so NI's 21/22 figures may still be changed
  • Finance Minister noted that his initial budget paper was shared with Executive colleagues on 10th December. The Executive signed off on final draft yesterday afternoon.
  • Regional rates frozen – domestic and non-domestic
  • Many of the figures presented are headline figures rather than detailed Departmental spend plans

Capital expenditure in 2021/22

  • £1.75bn net in capital
  • Of this, £140m of RRI borrowing allocated – first time this money has been used at near full, annual level for 5 years
  • £70m of this to DfI for NI Water. That will be part of DfI’s overall Budget figure
  • £70m to DfC for new build social housing. That, when added to other DfC funding, equates to around 1,900 new starts in 21/22
  • Further £60m of RRI borrowing can be accessed and bids are expected
  • Additional £73.6m in Financial Transaction Capital (down from £194m last year and reflecting a gradual winding down of the UK Government’s Help to Buy scheme from which the FTC is directly hypothecated)
  • Of this, £38.8m will go to DfC (predominately Co-Ownership) and £34.7m will go to DfE

Executive Flagships

  • A5, A6, Mother & Children’s Hospital, Belfast Transport Hub and NI Community Safety College to be further advanced
  • On the A5, the Irish Government is expected to contribute £6.7m in 21/22 – this is based on the construction programme for Phase 1a commencing during the summer
  • Additional funding allocated to commence Casement Park redevelopment

City Deal

  • Several allocations made in 21/22 as part of overall project costs for each of:
  • £7.4m to Belfast Rapid Transit Phase 2
  • £0.9m to Newry Southern Relief Road
  • £7.3m to Ormeau Park Pedestrian Bridge
  • Further allocations are expected but these need to be signed off by the Secretary of State

Strule Shared Education Campus

  • As of last week, the Executive has received confirmation from the Treasury that Strule will be wholly funded through the separate shared education element of the Fresh Start Agreement
  • £28.4m has been set aside in 2021/22 – this funding is though fully ring-fenced and can be carried over if need be

Separately, this Thursday’s Executive meeting will consider the January Monitoring Round with a statement expected on this in the next week.  

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2021-22 Draft Capital Budget Position

  • Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs £95.5m
  • Communities £224.8m (includes the £70m of RRI borrowing exclusively for social housing new build programme. No further detail on Departmental breakdown)
  • Economy £89.8m
  • Education £158.3m (doesn’t include Strule – this is a separate commitment given by the Treasury through the Fresh Start Agreement)
  • Finance £45.0m
  • Health £326.5m
  • Infrastructure £693.2m (as comparison, this year was £558m. The £693.2m includes the additional £70m of RRI borrowing exclusively for NI Water. No further detail on Departmental breakdown)
  • Justice £96.4m
  • The Executive Office £15.3m
  • Food Standards Agency £0.1m
  • NI Assembly Commission £1.0m
  • NI Audit Office £4.4m
  • NI Authority for Utility Regulation £0.0m
  • NI Public Service Ombudsman £0.1m
  • Public Prosecution Service £0.6m
  • Total Departmental Allocations £1.751bn