DFP explains that many challenges lie ahead
Mike Brennan delivered a presentation on the draft budget and explained that many challenges lie ahead - even producing a coherent draft budget in the allocated time was a challenge in itself.
He went on to clarify that although there would be no introduction of water charges for domestic customers for the next four years, there would be an increase in regional rates for both domestic and non-domestic customers.
Other key factors being considered include
- Revenue raising proposals ie: plastic bag levy/contributions from housing associations
- Introduction of a Social Protection Fund for people hardest hit by the impacts of welfare reform
- Rescue package for the Presbyterian Mutual Society
- Administration cost controls (pay freeze)
- Introduction of a Social Investment Fund is for the regeneration of disadvantaged communities and interface areas
A broad representation of the voluntary and community sector attended the session and asked for clarification on a number of issues, including why there was no Programme for Government attached to the draft budgets, the protection of the Land and Property Service’s budget, what other measures can be introduced to generate savings such as the sale of government owned
land and the detrimental affect of NAMA on the price of it.
Seamus McAleavey, Chief Executive of NICVA commented:
“Northern Ireland is in a very difficult place at the minute and we must deal with the situation in a coherent manner. When this process started in July 2010, people thought the suggestion of £2 billion worth of cuts was alarmist, but these draft budgets show that this is not the case. Our job is to now deal with the situation in the best way possible.”
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