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Monday, 15 July, 2002, 16:25 GMT 17:25 UK
NI gets 1.2bn in spending review
Stormont
Stormont ministers will decide where cash goes
Spending by the Northern Ireland Executive is to go up by 1.2bn over the next four years.

The chancellor's three-year spending review was announced in the House of Commons on Monday.

Gordon Brown's announcement means the executive's budget will grow by about 3% every year for the next three years.

The rises mean that in the next 12 months there will be nearly 500m extra to spend - although that does include increases contained in the budget.

There is a total windfall of 90bn to be spent across the United Kingdom.

The amount Northern Ireland gets is governed by the Barnett Formula, which is used to decide how much the devolved administrations get from central government.

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown: Announced cash allocation
It will be up to local ministers to decide how that money should be spent.

Their exact plans will not be known until the autumn.

Secretary of State John Reid said the figures represented an important boost to public services in Northern Ireland.

Extra monies are also being made available for security and policing matters, which the executive does not have authority over.

The government said those particular increases are needed to pay for the Patten Reforms and changes to the Criminal Justice System.

John Reid said it was the latest act of investment in the peace process by the government.

Obviously, as we prepare our budget for next year, we take into account the additional resources made available to us

Sean Farren
Finance minister

"I hope everyone in Northern Ireland could respond positively," he said.

"With these extra resources of nearly 300 million, I will now plan ahead in order to provide Northern Ireland with a fully inclusive world class police service and a fair and open system of justice for the 21st century - both of which will secure the respect and growing trust of all the people of Northern Ireland."

He added: "It is now for the Northern Ireland Executive to translate this into the best possible public services for the people of Northern Ireland," he said.

First Minister David Trimble said he would suspend judgement on the announcement.

He told the House of Commons that he would take his time to study the figures in detail, but expressed concern that Northern Ireland had a history of under investment.

Finance Minister Sean Farren said: "Obviously, as we prepare our budget for next year, we take into account the additional resources made available to us."

He added: "This announcement does mean significant increases for the local administration.

Mr Farren said the executive was in negotiations with the chancellor over the Barnett Formula, which he said may not be the best mechanism for Northern Ireland.

The chairman of the assembly's education committee, Danny Kennedy, said much of the money needed to be spent on schools.

"A lot of our school estate is in very poor condition so we could spend quite a lot of money there.

"We also need measures to improve standards," said the Ulster Unionist assembly member.


A lot of our school estate is in very poor condition so we could spend quite a lot of money there

Danny Kennedy
Education Committee
"The area education board recently gave evidence to the assembly in relation to not being able to meet their core services needs and I think those are all aspects that make education a real priority this time."

Sinn Fein's Francie Molloy, who sits on the Finance Committee, said he would be pressing Finance Minster Sean Farren to target education, health and infrastructure.

"There has been an underspend over 30 years of direct rule on school buildings.

"If we look around school yards we see they're full of mobile classrooms.

"We need to get permanent structures in place and we need to actually invest money into the education system."

Mr Molloy called for a local spending review to be carried out to make it easier to follow where the money is being spent.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's political editor Mark Devenport
"Executive is expected to spell out its own priorities in September"
BBC NI's Stephen Walker:
"The amount Northern Ireland gets is governed by the Barnett Formula"
The government's plans for future spending are published on 15 July

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See also:

14 Jul 02 | UK Politics
14 Jul 02 | Business
12 Jul 02 | Business
14 Jul 02 | UK Education
10 Jul 02 | UK Politics
14 Jul 02 | Business
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