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Emergency legislation safeguards some planning and regeneration spend in NI

Words: Roger Milne
Stormont | Shutterstock_114096184

Emergency legislation to make sure that funding for regeneration, planning and housing in Northern Ireland does not run out amid the continuing impasse at Stormont received the Royal Assent this week.

The Northern Ireland Budget Act ensures that, among other expenditure, the Department for Communities has £24 million to spend on regeneration schemes over the rest of the current financial year.

The act also safeguards £6 million for strategic planning and policy work. With regard to capital expenditure, all Northern Ireland Executive flagship and ongoing contractual capital commitments will be honoured into 2017/18.

Northern Ireland secretary James Brokenshire confirmed that £50 million would be made available to address health and education pressures in Northern Ireland from the Democratic Unionist Party’s £1 billion confidence and supply arrangement with the government.

That decision, though, leaves up in the air the fate of money originally expected to be used for key infrastructure projects like Belfast’s York Street interchange project and £150 million to provide ultra-fast broadband across Northern Ireland.

Part of that financial deal designed to prop up the UK Government was also due to be spent on city deals and enterprise zones. Although discussions on such initiatives have been taking place, no decisions on specific zones or city deals can be taken while there is no functioning administration at Stormont, the current position.

Image credit | Stormont