The Chancellor George Osborne used his Spending Review and Autumn Statement today to set out how he will deliver economic security, national security and opportunity for families in Northern Ireland.
The Spending Review confirms up to an additional £500 million spending power for the Northern Ireland Executive to support the full implementation of the Stormont House Agreement, which itself provided the Northern Ireland Executive with new funding and additional flexibility of over £2 billion.
The government is protecting and investing in the things that matter to working people; the security of strong defence budgets and a higher state pension to protect you in your retirement.
The Northern Ireland Executive’s block grant will be over £11 billion by 2019-20.
Northern Ireland will benefit from major investment in infrastructure - the government has confirmed significant real-terms increases to Northern Ireland Executive capital budgets. Funding available for infrastructure investment via the block grant through to 2020-21 will rise by 12% in real terms, meaning over £600 million more than if it had been held at 2015-16 levels.
Other measures confirmed included:
The £7 million Regional Air Connectivity Fund will support new air routes, including from Belfast to Carlisle and from Derry to Dublin
Additional support of £160m for the Police Service of Northern Ireland to combat the threat from dissident terrorism.
The government reiterated that it is committed to the devolution of Corporation Tax powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly, subject to the Northern Ireland Executive demonstrating that its finances have been put on a sustainable footing and the commitments from the Stormont House Agreement met.
Since early 2010, employment in Northern Ireland has grown by more than 33,000 with unemployment falling by 14.5% over the same period. And median gross weekly earnings grew faster than any other UK region over the past year.
The Chancellor said:
The first duty of the Government is to protect the people of the United Kingdom and that is what my Spending Review delivers.
Protecting their economic security, by taking the difficult decisions to live within our means and bring our debts down. Protecting their national security, by ensuring those who keep us safe have the support and resources they need. And providing the opportunity for all we want to see.
The government is supporting the Northern Ireland Executive with a substantial package of new funding and flexibility to support the full implementation of the Stormont House Agreement.
The Spending Review also reflects the choices the UK government has made across the UK to invest for the future. I have confirmed significant increases to the Northern Ireland Executive’s capital budgets of £600 million. We are committing to new investments in defence and the biggest rise in state pensions since 2001.
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers, said:
I welcome the Chancellor’s spending review and autumn statement today. Last week’s Fresh Start Agreement will help to put Northern Ireland’s devolved institutions on a more secure and stable footing, and gives the Executive a workable and sustainable budget.
Today’s announcements, for example the increase in capital funding to support important improvements to infrastructure, will provide a further significant boost to that fresh start and help us deliver a brighter, more secure future for all the people of Northern Ireland.