NI health department urges James Brokenshire to provide clarity over funding

NI health department urges James Brokenshire to provide clarity over funding

The Department for Health has called on Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire to clarify how much funding it will receive, after MPs voted to pass a Budget for the region via Westminster.

The UK House of Commons unanimously backed proposals for the Budget bill, which has put in place financial provisions for Northern Ireland as local parties have failed to reach a deal to return to powersharing.

In it, Mr Brokenshire revealed an increase in health spending of 5.4%.

However, trade union Unison has argued this in effect amounts to a funding drop as it fails to keep up with health inflation which stands at 6%.

Mr Brokenshire told Parliament he will also release £50 million of funding for health and education, which will be the first portion of the £1 billion deal agreed between the Conservatives and the DUP as part of their "confidence and supply" arrangement to support the minority Government.

NI health department urges James Brokenshire to provide clarity over funding

In a statement, a spokesman for Northern Ireland's Department of Health said: "It has to be emphasised that health is facing very significant financial pressures.

"The initial assessment of the financial position for 2018-19 and 2019-20 indicates pressures of some hundreds of millions just to maintain existing services.

"In relation to the Secretary of State's comments on funding from the confidence and supply agreement, immediate health priorities would include investment in waiting list initiatives.

"Early confirmation of additional funding is essential as our ability to spend effectively diminishes with each passing week as we move closer to financial year end on March 31 2018."

Northern Ireland has been without an Executive at Stormont for 10 months, amid a powersharing deadlock between the DUP and Sinn Féin.

Despite numerous round of negotiations since powersharing collapsed in January, the parties have not been able to reach a deal to return to government.

The main areas of disagreement relate to language and culture issues including the implementation of an Irish language act.

Introducing the Budget at Westminster, Mr Brokenshire said he was reluctant to take the step but that Northern Ireland would otherwise run out of money by the end of this month without local politicians in place at Stormont to pass it there.

He added that he remains hopeful a deal can be reached between the parties, allowing a local Executive to still be formed.


More in this Section

'Significant fire' at Dublin industrial estate put out after gas main ruptures'Significant fire' at Dublin industrial estate put out after gas main ruptures

€250k Lotto Plus 2 draw won€250k Lotto Plus 2 draw won

Seizure of container load of smuggled cigarettes in Co Armagh leads to cross-border investigation Seizure of container load of smuggled cigarettes in Co Armagh leads to cross-border investigation

National Treatment Purchase Fund must be extended, Fianna Fáil say, as 200k wait for scansNational Treatment Purchase Fund must be extended, Fianna Fáil say, as 200k wait for scans


Lifestyle

Even in the drug-filled, debauched annals of the rock and roll memoir, Mark Lanegan's Sing Backwards And Weep stands out.Mark Lanegan: Drugs, Liam Gallagher and me

Donal Dineen was the man who first brought David Gray and many other emerging artists to our ears. He’s had a lower profile in recent years, but has returned with a new podcast, writes Eoghan O’SullivanDonal Dineen: Pushing the buttons on a new podcast

Is there are science to back up some of the folklore we have grown up with?Appliance of Science: If a cow sits down does that mean it will rain?

This time last year Whiddy Island in West Cork was bustling with people who had caught the ferry for the short trip from Bantry to ramble the island’s boreens as part of the Bantry Walking Festival. Not so this year.Islands of Ireland: Whiddy in the same boat

More From The Irish Examiner