The Government continues to work intensively with all the parties in Northern Ireland to bring about the restoration of devolved government. To date, however, the Executive and Assembly has not been restored.
Regrettably it has been almost eighteen months since local Ministers were in office and taking decisions.
As we outlined in our 2017 Conservative Northern Ireland manifesto, “in the continued absence of a functioning devolved administration, a Conservative Government will do all that is necessary to provide the good governance and political stability that Northern Ireland needs, including political decision making from Westminster if that is what is required.”
In accordance with the principles set out by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in parliament, the Government will bring forward measures as necessary to provide the basis for good governance.
- First, we will take whatever steps are necessary to provide good governance and ensure the continued delivery of Northern Ireland’s vital public services.
- Second, we will continue to uphold our commitments from the Belfast Agreement and its successors.
- Third, we will continue to work to remove the barriers to devolution.
That is why the Secretary of State has introduced in the House of Commons the Northern Ireland Budget Bill for the 2018-19 financial year and why the UK Government is considering further action to address pressing public appointments in Northern Ireland. The Government will make further legislative interventions which may be required to ensure good governance.
The Government recognised the need for additional financial resources to be allocated to Northern Ireland alongside the Confidence and Supply Agreement agreed between the Conservative and Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party in June 2017. To date £20 million was provided in 2017-18 Supplementary Estimates for health and education and in the 2018-19 Main Estimates a further £410 million will be made available, subject to normal Parliamentary approvals comprising, £80 million immediate health and education, £30 million to address mental health and severe deprivation, £100 million health transformation and £200 million infrastructure development.
We will ensure that our commitments on major infrastructure spending, including the York Street Interchange road project and the broadband investment programme, agreed alongside of the Confidence and Supply Agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party, are able to be taken forward so that the people of Northern Ireland benefit from the increased investment agreed in June 2017.
The Government is determined to ensure Northern Ireland benefits fully from this additional expenditure. In the period ahead we will ensure that Members of the Legislative Assembly during the impasse continue to receive updates on the work of the departments in Northern Ireland as well as preparing for the return of devolved government. We recognise the value in ongoing consultation with Northern Ireland’s democratically elected representatives.