Stormont's Department for the Economy 'needs extra £23.6m'


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The department said if does not get the extra money it will “result in further financial pressures.”

Stormont’s Department for the Economy has said it is facing a challenging financial position and needs an extra £23.6m.

The details are contained in the department’s draft business plan for 2019/20.

Stormont departments bid for extra funds in reallocation exercises known as monitoring rounds.

The department said if does not get the extra money it will “result in further financial pressures.”

The Northern Ireland budget, announced in February, saw an overall real increase of 2% for day-to-day departmental spending.

However, that increase is not evenly spread across departments.

Health, the largest department, got a 3.8% uplift compared to the position at the end of 2018-19, while other departments saw their budget flat or falling in real terms.

The Department for the Economy said its £776.6m allocation is effectively the same as last year.

The department is responsible for economic development, third-level education and skills.

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Noel Lavery is the top civil servant in the Economy Department

In a foreword to the business plan the department’s senior civil servant, Noel Lavery, said the lack of a devolved government was “uniquely challenging.”

“We know there are things which we want to do but which will properly require ministerial agreement.

“However, that will not stop us from undertaking necessary preparatory work.”

That work will include drawing up a draft energy strategy and a draft tourism strategy.

An existing industrial strategy that has not been implemented will also be reviewed.

The business plan also said that the department will continue to prioritise resources towards preparations for Brexit.

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