Monday , October 26 2020

Stormont deal funding an 'act of bad faith' – Murphy – BBC News, BBC News


        

                                 Conor MurphyImage copyright                 PA                                                      
Image caption                                    Conor Murphy was appointed as finance minister when the Executive reformed on Saturday                             

The financial package offered by Westminster to support the Stormont deal is an ” act of bad faith “, Finance Minister Conor Murphy has said.

The Westminster government is to give the NI Executive an extra £ 1bn to support the agreement.

A further £ 1bn will be added to Stormont’s budget as an automatic result of spending plans for the entire UK.

Mr Murphy said the package “makes our job much more difficult”.

“The bottom line is with this proposed package, our public services face a shortfall of at least £ 1bn next year alone, “he said.

Mr Murphy said departmental officials would examine the figures.

The financial package includes:

  • The £ 1bn investment as a result of UK spending plans, which will include funding for infrastructure investment
  • The “rapid injection” of £ 976 m to Stormont’s budget, including £ m to end the nurses’ pay dispute and deliver pay parity over the next two years
  • £ M of ring-fenced capital to deliver a medical school in Londonderry, subject to executive approval
  • £ M over two years to support the rollout of low-emission public transport
  • About £ 400 m to support transformation of public services, with money being released depending on the delivery of reform
  • £ m to address Northern Ireland’s “unique circumstances”

  • It is not yet clear which spending commitments relate to the deal and which are the result of the automatic increases.                                                                                                      Image copyright                 AFP / Getty Images                                                      
    Image caption                                    Ministers were appointed to the Stormont executive at the weekend                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The honeymoon period after the New Decade, New Approach deal is definitely over now.In fact, it has passed quicker than any of us might have expected.Conor Murphy does not like the fact that the Northern Ireland Office has put any of the figures out there because I Think he would have hoped, as would some of the other ministers in the new Executive, that this would all still be subject to negotiations.

    Instead, Julian Smith published the financial package, saying it’s a £ 2bn package and that it’s a brilliant one.

    Others say, hang on, £ 1bn of that will be coming anyway and there’s only £ 1bn attached to this particular deal.That is not what the local politicians wanted.

                                                                                                                          

    Mr Murphy said the the proposed package adds £ (m to the £) m previously committed for legacy institutions.

    “This falls at least £ (m short of the projected cost of £) ************************************************** – £ (m, “he said.

    The Sinn Féin MLA suggested that the announcement from Westminster was made “against the request” of the first and deputy first ministers. He hopes to meet the Chancellor next week for further talks.

  • ‘Stringent conditions’ The government saidthere will be “a rapid injection of £ (m to put the executive’s finances on a sustainable footing.) ************That will include £ m to resolve the nurses’ pay dispute.

    The government said the financial package will “be accompanied by stringent conditions” contained within the Stormont deal, around “accountability for public spending” and the development of “sustainable public services”.

  • ****************** **********************GETTY

    Money from Westminster

    The government financial package includes:

  • *********************** (£ 1bn

**** (NI share of UK spending plans***************** (£) mmto Stormont’s budget, including £ 200 m to settle nurses’ pay

  • ************************************************************** m mringfenced to deliver a Londonderry medical school***************** (£) m

    over two years to support low-emission public transport

    (m) **************************to support transformation of public services

    mto address Northern Ireland’s “unique circumstances”

    ************************

    Source: Northern Ireland Office.

    ************************************************It added that the deal includes strict financial conditions, such as the establishment of an independent fisc al council.

    However, the government added there are no stipulations for extra revenue raising by the executive.

    Get on with it ‘

    In a tweet on Wednesday night, Secretary of State Julian Smith defended the funding and urged politicians to “get on with it”.

    He posted: “Let’s remember MLAs have been off work three years at a cost of [more than] £ 15 m in salaries.

    “There will be a new deal for NI as it leaves the EU. There is also a UK budget in spring . £ 2bn is the largest ever NI talks settlement and it addresses a number of key issues. “

    Earlier, he had said the money will “help transform public services in Northern Ireland, including ending the nurses’ pay dispute.”

    A new joint board formed between the government and executive will oversee how the money is spent.

                

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