Page last updated at 11:50 GMT, Wednesday, 10 March 2010
Guide to where power lies



BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Northern Ireland's overall budget is dependent on decisions made in Westminster, but Stormont controls how it spends these funds on devolved areas like economic development and promoting inward investment and exports.

Stormont is responsible for employment law in Northern Ireland - including statutory protection against discrimination on the basis of gender, race or religion - except for the national minimum wage, which is set by Westminster for the whole of the UK.

CULTURE, SCIENCE AND SPORT

Stormont allocates spending on the arts, museums, libraries, and sport.

Science policy is reserved to Westminster, except where it relates directly to educational establishments - oversight of schools and universities is devolved.

Decisions on inland waterways, inland fisheries, and language are taken jointly by ministers from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland on the North South Ministerial Council.

DEFENCE AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Policy-making on defence and international relations is not devolved.

EDUCATION

Stormont oversees education and training services in Northern Ireland, including pre-school, primary, post-primary and special education; the promotion of community relations in the school system; and teacher training and salaries.

It also monitors performance of schools and the quality of teaching.

ENVIRONMENT

Stormont is responsible for all aspects of environmental policy, including conservation, the regulation of land use, air and water quality, and waste management.

FARMING AND FISHERIES

Stormont has responsibility for oversight of policy on food, farming, fishing, forestry, animal welfare, and development of the rural sector in Northern Ireland's economy.

HEALTH

Stormont is in charge of many aspects of health policy and social services in Northern Ireland.

It determines the extent of private sector investment in NHS hospitals, the price of prescriptions for patients, and pay deals for NHS nurses, doctors and dentists.

However, some aspects of health policy, such as abortion and embryology, are not devolved.

HOUSING AND PLANNING

Stormont is responsible for social housing policy, regulation of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, housing associations and the private rented sector.

The Northern Ireland executive also produces policies aiming to tackle homelessness and fuel poverty, and boost urban regeneration.

JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS

A deal to devolve policing and justice powers was agreed between the DUP and Sinn Fein in February 2010, and received assembly assent on 9 March 2010. The endorsement of the Hillsborough Agreement provided for local politicians to take control of policing and justice powers for the first time since 1972.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Stormont oversees legislation and policies under which district councils operate and provide local services such as refuse collections.

Supervision of social services is also devolved in Northern Ireland.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Stormont manages social security programmes in Northern Ireland.

TRANSPORT

Stormont has complete independence on transport policy, including planning and funding the road network and rail services.

It also oversees regulation of air and sea ports in Northern Ireland.

Stormont has also introduced free public transport for older people, and improved public transport for disabled people.




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