The Northern Ireland Executive has written to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to urge him to engage in discussions over the long-term financial stability of the delivery of public services in the nation.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Executive has stated that the funding package for Northern Ireland doesn’t give it sufficient backing to deliver public services and public finances sustainably. Signed by all Executive ministers, the letter also states that the additional finances within the government’s funding package ‘will only provide a short-term solution’ to issues that are being faced right now.
First Minister Michelle O’Neill said:
“This morning the Prime Minister will meet Executive ministers united in our determination to get the right long-term funding package agreed.
“If we are to tackle the serious problems across public services – in our hospitals and our schools - then how we are funded needs to change and I will be strongly pressing that point at today’s meeting.
“It is critical that the Executive has the right resources to deliver effective public services for all our citizens and we will engage with the Prime Minister to achieve our shared objective.”
With the restoration of the Northern Ireland Executive, the stabilisation of public services and finances is a key target, with this needing to be done in a sustainable way. The letter mentions the way that Scotland and Wales are both funded, with their funding models being based on a needs-based factor, however, they are both funded considerably above their needs. The Executive is concerned that if, this needs-based funding is applied from the wrong starting points, funding for Northern Ireland could be ‘trapped’ below need.
Some of the long-standing issues that need to be resolved include:
- Victims Payments
- Windsor Framework Funding
- Holiday Pay
- The impact of classifying bodies such as the Northern Ireland Housing Executive as public sector.
The next steps will see officials within the Executive beginning the development of a sustainability plan, which will focus on a plan for productivity, long-term budget planning, additional funding, and a capital plan.
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