Northern Ireland Budgetary Outlook 2018-2020

On 18th December the Department of Finance published a briefing on the Northern Ireland Budgetary Outlook 2018-20. 

The document sets out the broad issues and challenges that an incoming Executive will face in making decisions around a budget for 2018-19 and 2019-20 (and 2020-21 for Capital).

NICVA welcomes the information available in this briefing highlighting what these budgetary pressures are and some possible options that might be available to address these. The publication of this briefing is valuable for informing debate around these issues and the various scenarios which are set out. We acknowledge that the situation presented by the department is far from ideal and there are many big and perhaps difficult budgetary decisions to be made going forward. We believe that the challenges presented in this document reinforce the absolute need to have a devolved Assembly back up and running with Ministers in place making strategic decisions.

The briefing highlights that the Resource DEL budget (the budget for day to day expenditure and running costs) will decline in real terms from 2018-2020, the situation for Capital DEL is more positive with an increase in real terms for the next two years. The budgetary pressures across the public sector and services outweigh the available budget and continuing to spend in the same way is not sustainable.

The document outlines three scenarios for producing a balanced budget in the immediate term

  1. Cut departmental allocations, leaving it to Departments to manage the consequences;
  2. Reduce or stop support for some existing services or policies; and
  3. Ask citizens to pay some more for the services they receive and use.

 NICVA will be commenting on the briefing in due course.

To read the briefing, click here.


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