Stormont financial decisions to be made by James Brokenshire next week

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire

James Brokenshire is to make financial decisions for Stormont next week.

The Northern Ireland Secretary will take charge of the allocation of money following the Spring Budget and other related issues.

Civil servants are running public services in Northern Ireland in the absence of an Executive.

Mr Brokenshire said: "Having reflected on the situation, and following further advice from the head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, I have concluded that it will be necessary for me to provide additional clarity ahead of the summer recess to support Northern Ireland permanent secretaries in addressing financial pressures and maintaining public services.

"Following the public holidays in Northern Ireland this week, I therefore intend to lay a further written statement before the House next week with adjusted indicative Budget positions and departmental allocations.

"This will take account of the Barnett consequentials arising from the Spring Budget, and funding as may be available from budget transfers and updated forecasts."

Mr Brokenshire has held discussions with the Treasury around the redistribution of around £120 million of Northern Ireland's £10 billion block grant.

It is a step short of intervening to impose a formal budget.

If the Stormont crisis continues, Mr Brokenshire will face pressure to legislate for a Stormont budget at Westminster in the autumn.

In-year reallocation of funds would usually fall to executive ministers.

But the bitter political rift between Stormont's two largest parties, the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein, has left the region without a first and deputy first minister since January and a functioning executive since March.

Civil servants currently only have access to 75% of the block grant. That will increase to 95% at the end of July. Only when a budget is passed will departments be able to spend the full Treasury allocation.